It all summed up where it started from. Hyderabad Police killed four men accused of gang rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in an 'encounter' on Friday. Their lives ended at the very site they brutally raped the 27-year-old who was returning home on the night of November 27. Their bodies lay in the spot barely a few hundred metres away from where they had burnt the woman. Her charred body was found under a culvert in Shadnagar on November 28.
Hyderabad Police gives a point-by-point account of encounter:
- The four accused were taken to the crime scene near Hyderabad from an undisclosed location for a reconstruction of events as part of the investigation. They were not handcuffed.
- Two accused snatched weapons from police and opened fire. Mohammed Arif was the first to open fire. The snatched weapons were in "unlocked" position. The 10-member police team was also attacked with stones and sticks.
- The police retaliated to the firing after initial "restraint" and asked the accused to surrender but they continued to fire and attack. In retaliation, all four accused were killed.
- The killings took place between 5.45 am and 6.15 am. All the accused, lorry workers aged between 20 and 24, were under police custody.
The police chief said the police found weapons in the hands of main accused Mohammed Arif and fourth accused Chennakeshavulu. He said two police officers also received head injuries. However, they did not sustain bullet injuries.
Responding to criticism about police taking law in its hand by killing the accused, Cyberabad Police Commissioner V. C. Sajjanar said: "Law has done its duty. That's all I can say.
Sajjanar also refused to comment when asked about the killing of three accused arrested for an acid attack on two girl students in 2008 when he was the Superintendent of Police of Warangal district.
People showered flower petals and paid homage to the veterinarian and raised slogans that justice had been done. Some shouted "Telangana Police zindabad." Men and women distributed sweets to police personnel even as some celebrated the killing by bursting fire crackers near the encounter site and in other parts of Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took cognisance of the killings and ordered an inquiry. In a statement, the apex human rights body said the encounter was a matter of concern and needed to be probed carefully.
Several rights activists spoke out to express their outrage and said the police cannot act like a lynch mob under any circumstance. The encounter is an attempt by authorities to distract people from the government's failures to safeguard women's rights, the activists said, calling for an exhaustive inquiry.