Hyderabad accused encounter: Country erupts in joy, ignores serious questions about rule of law

Updated: Dec 07, 2019, 09:09 IST | Agencies | Hyderabad

As Telangana police kill four men arrested for allegedly raping and murdering a veterinary doctor last month, country erupts in collective joy, ignoring serious questions about rule of law and due procedure

Hyderabad: All four accused in the rape and murder of a young veterinarian were shot dead by police on Friday during a pre-dawn exchange of fire near Hyderabad, a top police official said, as the killings were largely greeted with praise but also sparked concerns over extra-judicial executions.

The four men were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the 25-year-old woman by smothering her and later burning her body, an incident that led to widespread outrage and brought back memories of December 16, 2012, gang-rape and murder of a physiotherapy intern in Delhi.

Forensic experts collect evidence from the spot where police shot dead four accused at Shadnagar of Ranga Reddy district in Hyderabad, on Friday. Pic/PTI
Forensic experts collect evidence from the spot where police shot dead four accused at Shadnagar of Ranga Reddy district in Hyderabad, on Friday. Pic/PTI

Police said the killings took place between 5.45 am and 6.15 am when the accused, lorry workers aged between 20 and 24, were taken to the scene of the crime near Hyderabad from an undisclosed location for a reconstruction of events as part of the investigation. The four men — who were not handcuffed — were in police custody, it said.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner CV Sajjanar told reporters his men resorted to 'retaliatory' firing after two of the accused opened fire at police after snatching weapons from them. He said one of the accused, Mohammed Arif, was the first to open fire, even as the 10-member police team that took them to the crime scene were attacked with stones and sticks. The police returned fire after initial 'restraint' and asking the accused to surrender, he said.

A schoolgirl lights firecrackers after the accused were killed. Pic/PTI
A schoolgirl lights firecrackers after the accused were killed. Pic/PTI

The snatched weapons were in an 'unlocked' position, he added. A police sub-inspector and a constable suffered head injuries and were undergoing treatment, he said. "Even though our officers maintained restraint and asked them to surrender, they continued to fire and attack...our people started retaliation. And in that retaliation all the four accused got killed," he added.

Telangana encounter draws mixed reactions from all quarters

The killing of all the four accused in Telangana has drawn mixed response from across the nation. After the news of the shoot-out poured in, locals started gathering near the spot and raised slogans hailing police, like 'DCP Zindabad, ACP Zindabad'. They even showered rose petals on police personnel at the encounter site. BSP chief Mayawati said, "Police in Uttar Pradesh and also in Delhi should take inspiration from Hyderabad Police" she said. BJP leader Uma Bharti called this the "biggest incident in the 19th year of this century that will guarantee women's safety." Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that all governments should take action on how to strengthen the criminal justice system and added that it is a matter of concern if people have lost faith in the criminal justice system. "It is also something to be worried about, the way people have lost their faith in the criminal justice system," Kejriwal said.

My daughter's soul at peace now: Hyderabad veterinarian's father on encounter

After all the four accused in the rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Telangana were killed in an encounter with the police, the victim's father expressed gratitude to the police and said that his daughter's soul must be at peace now. "It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died. I express my gratitude towards the police and government for this. My daughter's soul must be at peace now," he said. " The accused Mohammed Arif, Naveen, Shiva and Chennakeshavulu were killed in a police encounter at Chatanpally, Shadnagar today in the wee hours, between 3 am and 6 am. I have reached the spot and further details will be revealed," Cyberabad Police Commissioner V C Sajjanar said. The doctor was brutally gang-raped and killed by four persons before they burnt her body in Shamshabad area on November 27.

Cops probing if there are more cases

The four accused involved the brutal gang-rape and murder of woman veterinary doctor, who was killed in an encounter with Telangana police early Friday morning, were involved in similar crimes across Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, suspect Police. "We have done DNA profiling of the victim and of all the accused and have collected scientific data and evidence. Further, we are collecting data from Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh about the missing and burnt bodies of women. Once the data comes we will analyze it regarding their involvement. We suspect that the accused were involved in other such cases across these states," said Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar while addressing a press conference. Cyberabad police on Friday said that they had recovered the murdered veterinarian's mobile phone, power bank and watch from the crime scene.
The police's statement comes after all the four accused — who were arrested for raping and burning the medico on November 27 were killed in an encounter earlier on Friday.

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