The rape and murder case of a 26-year-old veterinarian near Hyderabad that has provoked a massive outpouring of anger across the country and protests in Telangana will be heard in a fast-track court, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao said on Sunday.
Speaking for the first time amid mounting pressure on state authorities, Mr Rao, popularly known as KCR, said that a fast-track court will hear the case and ensure justice is expedited. Expressing "deep anguish" at the ''ghastly'' incident, KCR said his government was ready to extend all necessary help to the family of the woman.
His son, minister KT Rama Rao or KTR appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to amend laws to ensure capital punishment for rapists without any delay.
The comments came a day after protesters demanding quick justice clashed with the police, hurling slippers and stones in Telangana, after the charred body of the woman was found in the town of Shadnagar, near Hyderabad, on Thursday. Four men have been arrested in the case and three policemen have been suspended for negligence.
Tension prevailed near the residence of the victim's family on Sunday as residents locked the gated community to prevent politicians, police and media from entering the place. "No sympathy only action and justice" read a board hung at the gate of the colony on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The incident is reminiscent of the fatal gang rape of a young woman on board a bus in 2012 in Delhi. The crime sparked widespread protests and drew international attention to violence against women in India. The current case has also provoked outrage on social media with #HangRapists trending on Twitter.
According to the police, the 26-year-old veterinarian was assaulted by the four men near Hyderabad on Wednesday night. The men dragged her into the bushes near a toll booth and took turns to rape her till she fell unconscious. They switched off her phone and poured whiskey in her mouth to silence her. Later, they strangled her, wrapped her body in a blanket and set it on fire under a bridge 27 km away.
The police have been accused of dragging their feet when approached by the woman's family around 11 pm that night. The family says they were sent from one police station to another and had to finally go look for her around 3 am. The police also somehow seemed to have presumed that the young woman had gone away voluntarily, the family told NDTV.