Indian police have shot dead the four men accused of the brutal gang rape of a young vet in Hyderabad.
The four had become high-profile objects of hatred within the country, following their alleged premeditated attack on a 27-year-old veterinary doctor last Wednesday. They were accused of deflating her scooter tyres and lying in wait for her at an isolated spot by a motorway tollway. Her attackers approached her offering help, then dragged her to some bushes where they gang raped her, asphyxiated her until she died and then drove her body to an underpass where they set it alight.
The accused men were identified as Mohammad Areef, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen, and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu.
The case prompted a wave of public vitriol across India, with thousands taking to the streets in protest over the week and calls from politicians and the public for the men to be lynched.
According to the police, the accused were taking part in reconstruction of the crime in the early hours of Thursday morning when they tried to escape and were shot by police.
N Prakash Reddy, a deputy commissioner of police in Shamshabad, said: “In the morning, at around 6-6.30, our persons have come to reconstruct the scene of crime and the accused have tried to snatch their weapons, and there was a cross-fire. In this, all the four accused have died. Two policemen have been injured.”
Reddy’s accounted contradicted an earlier police version of events stating the attempted escape and shootings happened at 3.30am.
The All India Progressive Women’s association condemned the manner in which the men died.
“We, as a country, will now be told that ‘justice’ has been done, the victim avenged … But this justice is counterfeit,” the association said in a statement.
The group said deaths of the four men at the hands of the police was telling women “we can’t ensure the streets are safe, can’t investigate crimes against women to ensure there’s enough evidence to prove guilt, can’t protect rape survivors , can’t ensure that survivors get dignity in court.”
Many Indians express satisfaction with the actions of the police on social media, with some describing it as “quick justice”.
Asha Devi, the mother of the woman who died in the notorious 2012 gang rape on a bus in Delhi – known as Nirbhaya – told Indian media she was “extremely happy with this punishment. The police have done a great job and I demand that no action should be taken against the police personnel.”
“Finally … the brutes deserved it for the inhuman horrific crime they committed,” wrote the actor Nikhil Sihhhartha.