- 4 men accused of rape, murder of Telangana vet killed by cops on Friday
- Cops said the men had tried to attack them and escape
- "This is a lesson," minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav said
A senior Telangana minister on Saturday justified the alleged extrajudicial killing of four accused in the murder-cum-rape case of a veterinarian near Hyderabad, saying that anybody who commits a crime so cruel can expect to be eliminated in a police encounter.
"This is a lesson. If your conduct is wrong, you won't benefit from any court trial, prison sentence or subsequent bail as the case drags on. There will not be anything like that anymore. Through this, we have sent across a message that if you do something that's so wrong and cruel, there will be an encounter," Talasani Srinivas Yadav, the State Animal Husbandry Minister, said in an interview with a local television channel.
Mr Yadav also termed the killing of the accused, an incident condemned by rights groups and senior officers in the judiciary, as an example of the K Chandrashekar Rao government's commitment to alleviating the law and order situation in the state. "This is a very strong message we have sent. This is an ideal we have set for the country. We are setting a model not just through our welfare schemes but also through our handling of law-and-order issues," the senior minister said, adding that picking on the Chief Minister in this regard will not help because there are many who support him.
Mr Rao has faced criticism from various quarters for not visiting the victim's family or issuing a statement on the rape-murder case.
Telangana Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar had made a similar claim on Friday, saying that the state has proved itself to be a role model in ensuring "speedy justice". "We have shown that if somebody casts an evil eye on our daughters, we will gouge out his eyes," the minister told mediapersons, adding that the "encounter" will bring peace to the victim's family.
Chief Justice of India SA Bobde had condemned the practice of extrajudicial killing earlier in the day, saying that justice loses its very character when it takes the form of revenge. "I believe justice loses its character if it becomes revenge," he said.
Opinion is divided over the killing of the four accused in the brutal gang-rape and murder of a veterinarian in Telangana's Shamshabad on November 27. While many claim that the "encounter" would send out a strong message to sexual predators, others have condemned the manner in which the accused were killed without being given a chance to prove their innocence in court.
Cyberabad Commissioner VC Sajjanar, however, told the media that the police shot down the four only after they attacked them with stones and sticks.