All four suspects arrested in connection with the rape and murder of a -year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad were killed in a blatantly obvious encounter by the Cyderabad police in the early hours of Friday. The encounter happened just a few metres from the spot where the victim's charred remains were found.
The incident has left the nation divided, with some quarters condemning the extra-judicial killings while an overwhelming majority celebrates the deaths. However, literally nobody has doubts over the nature of the encounter, a fact which starkly points to the amount of trust the public has on the delivery of justice performed by the judicial system. The public have been celebrating and the cops who returned to the site was showered with flowers and given sweets by the locals.
All four dead men were arrested in an investigation launched after the charred remains of a veterinarian was found near Shedadpur in Hyderabad. The victim in question - being nicknamed Disha as a victim's name usually is not bandied about in the media - was a veterinarian who worked at Kolluru village. She reportedly stopped her two-wheeler near the toll gate, went to another clinic by cab and returned to find her two wheeler's tyre punctured.
Mohammad Areef, a driver named A1 by the police, approached her and offered help. The woman reportedly was hesitant, but soon was gaslighted into letting one of his friends take the two-wheeler to a mechanic shop, which his friends 'Jollu' Naveen (cleaner), Chennakeshavulu (cleaner), and 'Jollu' Shiva (driver) waited with her. At this point, the lady called her sister, asking her to stay on the phone until her vehicle returned as she was feeling unnerved by the behaviour of the men. The sister was unable to reach her phone after a while, following which they began searching for her. Her charred body was found the next morning. She was raped, smothered and then burnt. The perpetrators even came back later that night to make sure that the body was charred beyond recognition. Following the CCTV trail and the vehicle numbers, the four accused were picked up within hours.
They were in custody and were taken back to the spot where they burnt Disha's body, for a reconstruction at around 3 am in the morning on Friday. This is when they tried to escape and the encounter happened. According to the official police report, the A1 and A4 in the case snatched weapons from two officers and started firing, while trying to run. Failing to blunt their offense, the police had to open fire, and the suspects were shot down. An SI and a constable are admitted in care hospital with injuries, reportedly. Cyberbad police chief VC Sajjanar said the encounter happened between 3 and 6 am on Friday.
The families of the accused are still in a state of shock and had expected all four of them to be alive for years even if imprisoned. Renuka, wife of Chennakeshavulu, reportedly stated, "I was told nothing would happen to him," and further said she had no other means to live. The mother of Mohammed Arif was inconsolable. “I have lost my son. What do you want me to say?” she asked when the media approached her. The fathers of the other two questioned why they were not allowed to meet them.
Disha's father and sister spoke to the ANI, thanking the Hyderabad police on the action. The father of the victim signs off saying "maybe now she will be able to rest in peace." Asha Devi, the mother of the victim in the famous Nirbhaya case, also spoke to the ANI, stating that she was extremely happy with 'this punishment'."Police have done a great job & I demand that no action should be taken against the police personnel," said Asha Devi, echoing the sentiments of seemingly a majority in the nation.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad state Home Minister Mahmood Ali has apologised over the tone of his comment that Priyanka could have been saved if she called the police instead of her sister. "My thoughts & prayers are with the victim's family at this time of immense grief," he said, while clarifying the meaning of his comment. According to data from the government of India, there are around 1,50,000 cases of rape pending in courts across the country.