The Telangana Law Department has approved a fast-track court to try the four men accused of the gang-rape and murder of a 26-year-old woman veterinarian last week. A notification issued by the Secretary designates an Additional District and Sessions Court in Mahbubnagar district of the state for speedy trial of the accused, who have been sent to police custody for 7 days starting Thursday. The accused will be transported from Cherlapally Jail amid high security. They will also undergo a medical checkup.
On Sunday Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao said a fast-track court would be set up, citing the example of the rape and murder of a minor girl in Warangal district that was settled within two months.
Last week's horrific assault led to huge protests in the state and a massive outpouring of anger across India.
On Tuesday Swati Maliwal, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief began an indefinite hunger strike to demand that rape trials, starting with the Telangana case, be fast-tracked and rapists be given the death penalty. On Monday Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan led a chorus of angry and impassioned voices in parliament, demanding that "these types of people (the accused) need to be brought out in public and lynched".
"The culprits must be punished as soon as possible. Laws have been made, but they are not being implemented... take Nirbhaya's case... the culprits must be hanged till death," the young woman's father was quoted by news agency ANI.
The men - aged between 20 and 26 - worked as truck drivers and assistants and drank whiskey before attacking the woman.
According to police documents accessed by NDTV they planned the gruesome crime - they allegedly strangled her before burning the body - in detail when they saw her park her scooter near a toll booth.
Her body was badly burnt. Family members were only able to identify her with the help of a locket she was wearing. The body was handed over to her family after a post-mortem.
The incident triggered heavy criticism of Telangana Police, who allegedly dithered when approached by the woman's family around 11 pm on the day of the assault. The family said they were sent from one police station to another and had to finally go look for her on their own around 3 am the following day.
The family told NDTV police seemed to have presumed the young woman had gone away voluntarily.
The cops' initial reaction provoked violent protests with crowds throwing stones at the Shadnagar Police Station where the accused were first kept.
Union Minister of State for Home Kishan Reddy said police had adopted a casual attitude instead of having a sense of urgency that may have saved the young woman's life.
"No one can be turned away from the police station like that. We will make it compulsory for every police station to accept a complaint. The FIR can be filed later; first they should have helped to search the girl," Mr Reddy told NDTV.
In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, police chief Gautam Sawang has issued a circular reminding cops they cannot turn away any complainants citing excuse of jurisdiction. Strict action has been threatened if such instances are reported. Andhra Home Minister has said they intend to bring in an ordinance to deal with such crimes.
With input from ANI