HYDERABAD: In a major development, all the four accused in the recent gangrape and murder of a government veterinarian in Hyderabad were killed in a police encounter at Shadnagar in the wee hours of Friday. According to reports, the four accused - Mohammad Areef, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu - had been taken to the spot for recreation of the crime scene when they tried to escape. When the police asked them to surrender, they started pelting stones, forcing the policemen to open fire in self-defence during which they were killed.
It is also being said that the four accused tried to snatch weapons from the police officials too, after which, the police, in self-defence, opened fire on them. Confirming the development, Telangana Police said, ''All four people accused in the rape and murder of woman veterinarian in Telangana have been killed in an encounter with the police.''
They were gunned down at the same spot where the accused had dumped the victim`s body and set it afire on the night of November 27 after the gang-rape near Shamshabad on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Minutes after the encounter, senior Telangana police officials arrived at the site to take stock of the situation.
While some hailed the Telangana Police for the encounter, some others asked if heinous incidents of rapes will stop now.
Reacting to the development, the victim's father said, ''my daughter got justice today.'' ''It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died. I express my gratitude towards the police and the government for this. My daughter's soul must be at peace now,'' he added.
The late doctor's sister said, ''I want to thank the Telangana Police, Telangana government and the media for their support to us.''
Meanwhile, Swati Maliwal, the DCW chairperson who is on a hunger strike in the national capital demanding justice for the victim, said, ''What will the police do if rapists try to escape?''
On her turn, Nirbhaya's (the paramedic who was gang-raped and brutally tortured by five men on December 2012) mother Asha Devi said, ''I am extremely happy with this punishment. Police have done a great job and I demand that no action should be taken against the police personnel.''
Asha Devi regretted that despite getting capital punishment from the Supreme Court, the accused in her daughter's case have still not been hanged to death.
''Justice has been delayed to us. I have been running from pillar to post for the last 7 years. I appeal to the justice system of this country and the government, that Nirbhaya's culprits must be hanged to death, at the earliest,'' she demanded.
On the Telangana encounter, Rekha Sharma, National Commission for Women chairperson, said, ''As a common citizen I am feeling happy that this was the end we all wanted for them. But this end was supposed to be through the legal system. It should have happened through proper channels.''
''We always demanded death penalty for them, and here police is the best judge, I don't know in what circumstances this happened,'' she added.
BSP chief Mayawati was the first among the political leaders to express her views on the Telangana encounter case. ''Crimes against women are on the rise in Uttar Pradesh, but the state government is sleeping. Police here and also in Delhi should take inspiration from Hyderabad Police, but unfortunately here criminals are treated as state guests, there is jungle raj in UP right now, '' she said.
Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti hailed the Telangana Police after personnel of the force killed the four accused in Telangana rape-murder case in an encounter. "This is the biggest incident in the 19th year of this century that will guarantee women`s safety," Uma Bharti tweeted in Hindi. She said that all the police officers and policemen who executed this encounter deserve greetings.
Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal lauded the Hyderabad Police for killing all four accused in the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Telangana."Great work #hyderabadpolice ..we salute u," Nehwal tweeted.
Shuttler Jwala Gutta raised a question that whether this action will stop people from committing such a heinous crime."Will this stop the future rapists?? And an important question: will every rapist be treated the same way...irrespective of their social standing," Jwala tweeted.
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan, who had earlier advocated public lynching of rapists, commenting on the Telangana Police encounter in which the four accused in the rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Hyderabad were killed, said in Hindi, "der aaye durust aaye (better late than never)".
Talking to reporters, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said, ''it is a matter of worry how people have lost faith in the criminal justice system.''
BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, on her part, said, ''You can;t take law into your hands. There is a law to deal with such crimes.''
The Hyderabad gangrape and murder case had triggered a nationwide protest and renewed demands for capital punishment for the accused in such heinous crimes. The 26-year-old veterinary doctor was smothered, gang-raped and then burnt by four men and her charred body was found the next day on November 28 under a culvert on the Hyderabad-Bengaluru national highway.
According to the Cyberabad Police, the four accused had punctured the rear wheel of her scooter, offered to help her, dragged her to a secluded spot close to a toll plaza and raped her. It said the victim died due to suffocation and the accused later set her body on fire.
The Cyberabad Police had arrested the four accused on November 29 in connection with their involvement in the rape and murder case. All the four accused, who worked as drivers and cleaners, were sent to judicial custody for 14 days by a local court.
The Telangana government on Wednesday issued orders for setting up a fast track court to try the four accused in connection with the case. The government also designated the Court of First Additional District and Sessions Judge in Mahabubnagar district as the special court for speedy trial of the case.
Against the backdrop of the gruesome incident, the Telangana government said cases of crimes against women and missing women should be registered immediately by police on receipt of a complaint by following the 'Zero FIR' system.
Last week, three cops were suspended over alleged negligence in filing the FIR in connection with the rape and murder of the veterinarian.