The Telangana High Court on Friday directed the state government to preserve the bodies of the four men killed in an encounter near Hyderabad earlier in the day till 8 pm on December 9, PTI reported. The top court also asked the government to video record the postmortem examinations and submit it to the principal district judge in Mahabubnagar by Saturday evening.

In the early hours of Friday, the police said the four men accused of raping and murdering a veterinarian were killed in an encounter when they were trying to flee from custody. The accused tried to flee when they were taken to the murder site to reconstruct the crime scene and allegedly snatched a weapon and fired at the police, resulting in a cross-fire, the police added.

The court passed the order based on a representation received in the office of the chief justice, alleging that the police action was extra-judicial killing.

The accused – Mohammed Areef, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu – were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the woman before burning her body two days before. The four were under judicial custody and lodged in high security cells in Cherlapally Central Prison.

The National Human Rights Commission has sent a team to immediately conduct a spot inquiry and said the matter needs to be investigated “very carefully”. Human rights organisation Amnesty International India criticised the killings, saying the incident sets a “disturbing precedent of circumventing the legal system” and called for an independent inquiry.

A number of other people warned about the dangers of “extra-judicial killings” while several politicians praised the Telangana Police and the government for “delivering justice”.

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