Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy on Monday praised his Telangana counterpart for the police encounter in which four men accused of allegedly raping and killing a woman veterinarian were killed, reported PTI. “Hats off to KCR and Telangana police officers, the way it happened,” said Reddy.
The chief minister said there was nothing wrong with the police encounter. Speaking in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly during a debate on women’s safety, Reddy said, “The incident is a shame on society. Four people punctured her two-wheeler. How should the police, leaders react to the horrific incident? We need to question ourselves. Nothing wrong to shoot them dead is what you feel.”
Reddy’s comments come when several people have cautioned against the dangers of “extra-judicial killings”. However, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister cited examples of films to defend his point. “If the hero in a movie kills someone in an encounter, we all clap and say the movie is good,” he said, according to NDTV. “If a daring person does that in real life, someone will come down from Delhi in the name of National Human Rights Commission. They will say this is wrong, it should not happen like that.”
The National Human Rights Commission had sent a team to conduct a spot inquiry into the encounter, and said the matter needed to be investigated “very carefully”. Human rights organisation Amnesty International India also criticised the killings, saying the incident sets a “disturbing precedent of circumventing the legal system” and called for an independent inquiry.
The chief minister said that he was deeply moved by the incident. “As a father of two daughters, the incident left me deeply agonised,” he added. “As a father, how should I react to such incidents? What sort of punishment would give a parent relief?”
Reddy said the government would table a bill in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Wednesday. The entire process – investigation, trial and capital punishment – should be completed in 21 days in cases of rape, said Reddy, according to The Hindu. He said every district should have a dedicated court to deal with such cases. Reddy also suggested that social media users be brought under the ambit of the Act.
The accused were shot dead in the early hours of Thursday while they allegedly tried to flee the police. They had been taken to the crime scene for reconstruction of the sequence of events.
The accused – Mohammed Areef, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu – were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the woman two days earlier. They burnt the woman’s body. They were in judicial custody and lodged in high security cells in Cherlapally Central Prison.
The Telangana High Court on Monday asked the state government to preserve the bodies of the four men till December 13. The court ordered that the bodies of the four men will have to be transferred to Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad in air-conditioned ambulances to prevent any decomposition. The attorney general was asked to produce documents on filing of the first information report against the police for the encounter deaths.
A similar petition has also been filed in the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the matter on Wednesday. The petitioners have sought an investigation and filing of an FIR against the police personnel involved in the killing.