By now, most of us have heard about what happened in the forests of Andhra.
A bunch of men were killed by the Andhra police. The police claim that the men were involved in illegal felling of protected trees – red sanders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterocarpus_santalinus) – and had attacked the police.
However, evidence indicates that it might have been a false encounter.
Proper investigations will bring out the truth.
As a humanitarian, I am always against police excesses, especially against the powerless, the poor, the tribals. I am, however, more than happy for the police to kill the terrorists and criminals even in false encounters, human rights be damned.
But, the point here is that those getting the bullets have to be bonafide terrorists and criminals, not the poor or tribals or petty thieves.
Hopefully, investigation will find out whether those killed in the forest are innocent tribals or smugglers.
If they were involved in illegal logging and smuggling, then they deserve to die, poor or not.
You see, those red sanders trees are rare and a protected species as declared by the IUCN.
As such, felling these trees are not normal everyday crimes, these are crimes against humanity and the earth.
Life on earth cannot survive without trees.
And so cutting down each and every tree is a crime.
Cutting down rare trees is a higher crime.
And cutting down rare trees illegally is perhaps the heinest crime of all.
Its putting the future of life on this planet at risk.
And the punishment for that is death.
Even if this was a false encounter, hopefully this would act as a deterrent. The woodcutters would hopefully think 10 times before agreeing to the smuggler’s offers of money.