4 rapists shot dead by India cops

MUMBAI, 6 Dec 2019:

Four accused in the gang-rape and murder of a young veterinarian in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad were shot dead in police custody this morning, officials said.

The accused were gunned down at the same place where the victim’s corpse was found last week, in a case which triggered nationwide outrage and protests.

The police took the accused to the crime scene in an area outside Hyderabad to recreate the crime sequence as part of the investigation in the wee hours – when they allegedly tried to escape and were shot dead, according to an official version of events.

An officer at Hyderabad Police control room confirmed the four men were shot at the same area under a bridge where they had allegedly burned the corpse of the young vet.

He said the accused died before medical services could arrive on the scene.

The four men had allegedly waylaid the 26-year-old woman on the night of Nov 27 and had first deflated the tires of her motorcycle – on the pretext of helping her in getting it repaired.

They were accused of subsequently carrying the woman to a room where she was gang-raped before being strangled and later burning her corpse by dousing it with petrol.

The crime grabbed national headlines and led to repeated protests in many cities, demanding harsher punishments for rapists and speedy disposal of such cases through fast-track courts.

Soon after the news of the accused getting killed broke, a crowd arrived in the area to praise the police action and support the officers – with people showering the personnel with flowers and lifting them in the air while cheering.

Social media was also abuzz with a section of the population rejoicing over the incident, although doubts have been raised over the police version of events and many users alleged these were extra-judicial killings.

Laws against sexual violence were strengthened in India after the 2012 Nirbhaya case, in which the victim was raped and tortured by six men on a moving bus in New Delhi – with the crime resulting in widespread protests and triggering a national debate on sexual violence.

At the time, it was hoped the incident would be a turning point – but similar cases have continued to take place since.