HYDERABAD: As anger mounted across the country after the brutal murder of a veterinary doctor, who was also allegedly sexually assaulted, hundred of residents erupted in protest over the latest gruesome incident to shock India.
Baton-wielding police pushed back crowds from the building in the southern city of Hyderabad where they said the 27-year-old veterinary doctor was gang-raped, killed and then her body burned.
The accused have been identified as Mohammad Areef, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen, and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu. Mohammad Areef, aged 25, who works as a driver, is the prime accused in the rape-murder case.
Police said the Hyderabad vet was abducted on Wednesday night after she left her scooter near an expressway toll booth. The four men are alleged to have deflated a tyre whilst she was away and offered to help when she returned to collect it.
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The victim called her younger sister to say she was stranded and that a group of men had offer to fix her scooter. The woman said she was “afraid”, according her sister’s testimony to police. The sister called back later but the victim’s phone was switched off.
Police said the ashes of the woman’s body were found on Thursday morning. The body had been wrapped in a blanket and doused with kerosene.
Protestors raised slogans, hurled stones and slippers at the police personnel after they were stopped from entering the Shadnagar police station, where the accused were kept before they were transported to a central jail.
The killing sparked new outrage in a country that has been in the international spotlight over its handling of sex assaults since the brutal gang-rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus in 2012.
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“How anyone could subject another human being to such terrible, unprovoked violence is beyond imagination,” said former opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi on Twitter.
Police had to bring in reinforcements to bolster security around the Hyderabad police station. The suspects were to appear before a magistrate for what was expected to be the start of “fast-track” proceedings later Saturday.
Police was also criticised as protests spread to other cities. A woman who tried to stage a one-person demonstration outside the Indian parliament in New Delhi said she was beaten by police after refusing to go home.
Women’s groups turned against a minister in Telegana state, which includes Hyderabad, who said the dead woman could have been saved if she had called police first instead of her sister.
“Is there no shame,” hit back Swati Maliwal, head of the Delhi Women’s Commission. “Now the blame is being put on the dead victim.”