A man who allegedly raped and murdered his six-year-old neighbour in Hyderabad last week is yet to be caught, though Telangana Minister KT Ramarao had tweeted that he was arrested "within hours". Amid spiralling outrage, another minister has said the accused "will be killed in an encounter".
"We will catch the rapist and murderer. There will be an encounter after he is caught," state Labour Minister Malla Reddy told reporters in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
The police have released a photo of the alleged killer. A reward of Rs 10 lakh was declared on Tuesday for any information on the man, identified as Pallakonda Raju, 30, the child's neighbour. He has been missing since the girl was found dead inside his house.
The girl was reported missing from her home in Singareni Colony in Hyderabad on September 9. Her body was found in the house of the neighbour the next day, wrapped in a bedsheet.
Initial reports had said the accused had been arrested. But when it emerged that the information was false, there were massive protests and tension in the area, with residents of the colony demanding justice for the girl and her family.
Minister KT Rama Rao retracted information in a previous tweet that the accused had been arrested and sought public cooperation to catch him.
"Would like to correct my tweet below. I was misinformed that he was arrested. Regret the erroneous statement. The perpetrator is absconding and Hyderabad police has launched a massive manhunt for him. Let's all make our best efforts to ensure he's nabbed and brought to justice quickly," Mr Rao posted, with a screenshot of his earlier tweet.
Would like to correct my tweet below. I was misinformed that he was arrested. Regret the erroneous statement— KTR (@KTRTRS) September 14, 2021
The perpetrator is absconding & @hydcitypolice has launched a massive manhunt for him
Let's all make our best efforts to ensure he's nabbed & brought to justice quickly https://t.co/IVz9Ri7jzn
Several politicians, activists and even film stars have reacted to the shocking incident.
The heinous crime against the 6-year old in Singareni Colony is a reminder of how far we have fallen as a society. "Will our daughters ever be safe?", is always a lingering question! Absolutely gut-wrenching.. Cannot imagine what the family is going through!— Mahesh Babu (@urstrulyMahesh) September 14, 2021
Many were criticised and warned after they inadvertently identified the girl in their posts.