On November 28, a day after Dr. Priyanka Reddy was reported missing, Hyderabad police recovered her smothered and burnt body. According to the police, before being burnt, she was gang-raped and then strangulated to death in Shamshabad (about 20 km from Hyderabad).
Four men were arrested within 48 hours of the brutal murder. The accused--three 20-year-old men and a 26-year-old man--were identified as Mohammad Areef, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakesavulu, who are all lorry drivers and cleaners. They were imprisoned in a high-security cell in Cherlapally Central Prison, where security was tightened by deploying additional security personnel.
The gruesome details of the murder galvanised the nation. There was a justified outpouring of anger and fury over the past few weeks in response to the case. Public outrage over the case transformed into outrage over the much bigger sexual violence problem in India and the law enforcement's handling of such cases.
Today, the nation woke up to the news that all four accused in the rape and murder of the veterinarian were killed in an encounter on Friday by Cyberabad Police. According to the police official, the accused were taken to the crime scene to recreate the incident when they tried to escape. The police had to open fire at them and the men were rushed to the hospital. However, they succumbed to bullet injuries.
The victim noticed a punctured tire as she was returning home from work a little after 8pm. She was about to leave her two-wheeler at the toll plaza to take a cab home when two men approached her to help with her vehicle.
She was then ambushed and dragged into the bushes by the accused about 50 mts from the Tondupally toll plaza. Her charred body was later found under an underpass the next morning.
On hearing the news of the encounter, the father of the victim said, "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."
Hyderabad: Senior Police officials arrive at the site of the encounter. All four accused in the rape and murder of woman veterinarian in Telangana were killed in an encounter with the police when the accused tried to escape while being taken to the crime spot. https://t.co/TB4R8EuPyr pic.twitter.com/7fuG87MP0m— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2019
The Nirbhaya gang-rape case shook the nation in December 2012. Her family was devastated and they are still waiting for the verdict to be delivered. When asked about the encounter, Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi said, "I would like to thank the police. I am very happy with the kind of punishment they have got. The police have set an example. The police have done a very good job. There should be no action against the police. Criminals need to be scared of the police. We need this kind of punishment for criminals these days."
According to a report by NDTV, she also added, "For seven years I have been waiting, going from court to court, making rounds of the lower court asking to hang them, but the court said they also have human rights, can't hang them. But it's needed today. Something has changed today with the action by the Telangana Police. I am very happy."
Nirbhaya's father Badrinath Singh said, "Am happy with the encounter because our daughter's rapist is still alive and we die every day. At least the parents of the Telangana woman won't have to go through this... It would have been worse for the Telangana Police if the accused had escaped. They did a good job."
Hyderabad: Locals had showered rose petals on Police personnel at the spot where accused in the rape and murder of the woman veterinarian were killed in an encounter earlier today pic.twitter.com/66pOxK1C2b— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2019
Is encounter a "lazy, easy way to shut down the case when you can't be bothered to investigate properly?” Are people happy and satisfied because they don't trust the country's judicial system? Or our nation's police forces have taken this step because they couldn't handle the pressure of public outrage? These are some of the questions that remain to be answered. But our hearts are with Dr Priyanka Reddy's family because the crime cannot be undone.
Featured Image: ANI, India Today
Introducing #POPxoEverydayBeauty - POPxo Shop's collection of skin, bath & body, and hair products that are fun, effective and 100% fuss-free. To celebrate, we’re giving everyone 25% off on pre-orders so head to POPxo.com/beautyshop and take your beauty routine up a POP!