Senior Telangana minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav on Saturday said that Friday’s police encounter with four men accused of raping and murdering a veterinary surgeon near Hyderabad was a lesson that if a person does something wrong, there will be an encounter, NDTV reported.

“This is a lesson. If your conduct is wrong, you won’t benefit from any court trial, prison sentence or subsequent bail as the case drags on,” Yadav said. “There will not be anything like that anymore. Through this, we have sent across a message that if you do something that’s so wrong and cruel, there will be an encounter.”

He was asked if the incident took place without the knowledge of the top leadership, to which he responded, “Correct. You know, the reconstruction of crime happened with instruction from above,” The Indian Express reported.

The Animal Husbandry minister added: “This is an ideal we have set for the country. We are setting a model not just through our welfare schemes but also through our handling of law-and-order issues.”

In the first such official admission of the kind, Yadav said that the credit for the encounter goes to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and added that the “reconstruction of the crime scene”, during which the four accused were shot dead by the police, “wouldn’t have happened without permission from above”, The Indian Express reported.

He added that there was a lot of pressure on the police for immediate action and claimed that there may not have been justice if the accused had gone through due process. “That [Judicial process] will be unending, no? Indian law, Indian judicial process… will go on forever,” he said. “All over India, people know that Indian judiciary is much delayed and people suffer a lot. Even Nirbhaya’s mother spoke on this. Such is Indian law. Lots to change. And people have to think about it.”

Telangana encounter

In the early hours of Friday, the Telangana Police had 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 had 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 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 earlier. They were under judicial custody and lodged in high security cells in Cherlapally Central Prison.

The National Human Rights Commission on Friday had 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 had also 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 had also warned about the dangers of “extra-judicial killings” while several politicians praised the Telangana Police and the government for “delivering justice”.

On Saturday, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said justice must never ever take the form of revenge. He said the justice system must reconsider its attitude towards laxity in disposing criminal matters and that the judiciary must be aware of the changes and perception about itself.

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