100 red sander smugglers held for killing officials

The Andhra Pradesh Police on Monday arrested more than 100 red sander smugglers allegedly involved in the killing of two forest officials in Chittoor district’s Seshachalam forests on Sunday.

The suspects were arrested at Railway Kuduru and Mamaduru railway stations in Chittoor and Kadapa districts, respectively, while they were trying to flee to the neighbouring Tamil Nadu. They were arrested in connection with Sunday’s attack, which killed Tirumala Deputy Range Officer Sridhar and Assistant Beat Officer David Kumar and injured three others. The arrests had been made since Sunday night, during the checking carried out by three special task force teams in the two districts.

A massive manhunt was launched immediately after the attack to arrest the smugglers who escaped from the forests. Over 200 red sander smugglers, suspected to be from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, brutally hacked to death two forest officials and seriously wounded two others in the dense Seshachalam forests.

According to officials, Sridhar ventured into the forest with about nine officials and two smugglers who were arrested the day before. When they arrived at Kanchi Banda near Parveti Mandapam, which is 2 km from Tirumala temple, they were ambushed by 200-odd smugglers and labourers waiting in the bushes.

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