Hyderabad,AP(web team): At least 20 red-sandalwood smugglers were killed on Tuesday in an encounter with police in Seshachalam forest near Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
Some police and forest personnel were also injured in the face-off, police said.
The incident occurred at two places in Seshachalam forest area of Chandragiri mandal in Chittoor.
"Twenty red sander smugglers have died at two places. There was an exchange of fire with our task force personnel. They (smugglers) were carrying red sander logs and attacked the police and forest personnel with sickles and fire arms. They also attacked the personnel with stones," said Additional DGP (Law and Order) R P Thakur.
After the police personnel came under attack, they retaliated, he said.
"The smugglers, once challenged by the police, tried to overpower the security personnel and carry away the logs. In the process, they attacked the policemen," Thakur said.
"Most of the smugglers are from Tamil Nadu...they regularly come in our area and cut red sanders which is transported in small vehicles to different places," he said.
There are reports that some police and forest personnel have also been injured in the attack, the details of which are awaited, the ADGP said.
Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police J V Ramudu briefed Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on the incident.
Noting that as many as 20 (smugglers) were killed in the incident, the DGP said the deceased were yet to be identified.
"We have to identify the deceased. We have information that as many as 20 are dead. We have to identify them. There is lot of guess work going on. But, we cannot go by that. We have to identify them. Whatever is due as per procedure, we will do. The task force (to contain smuggling of red sanders) did. Police will have to investigate (the incident) now," he told reporters.
Replying to a query, he said AP Police has been alerted with regard to terror-related activities, in the wake of two suspected SIMI activists killed in Telangana last week.
(With agency inputs)