New Delhi: Three police personnel were suspended on Saturday in connection with the gang-rape and murder of a woman veterinarian in Telangana earlier this week.
Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar said the three have been placed under suspension till further orders for dereliction of duty. The move following a detailed inquiry after the victim's family alleged that the police had delayed filing an FIR when she was first reported as missing on the intervening night of November 27-28.
The National Commission for Women (NCW), whose members met the victim's kin on Saturday, in its report said prima facie it observed that police officials delayed taking action in the case. NCW member Shyamala Kundar, who was in Hyderabad to look into the incident, said she recommended action against policemen, after inquiry, who allegedly did not respond on time to the family's complaint.
The women's panel found fault with the policemen who allegedly told the victim's sister, who had gone to lodge a complaint, that the case did not fall under their jurisdiction.
The suspended officials were identified as Shamshabad police station Sub-inspector M Ravi Kumar, P Venugopal Reddy and A Sathyanarayana Goud, both head constables at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Police Station.
"All the officers of the Cyberabad police have been once again instructed to register the cases irrespective of jurisdiction whenever a complaint related to cognisable offence is received in the police station," the police statement said.
The victim, who was on her way home after a medical check-up at Gachibowli in Hyderabad on Wednesday night, was abducted, raped and killed by four lorry workers at Chatanpally near Shadnagar, around 60 km from Hyderabad, police said. The accused set her body ablaze after killing her.
The veterinarian's family told the NCW on Saturday that the Hyderabad Police wasted precious time, which could have been used to save her life.
NCW chief Rekha Sharma said a team of the women's panel visited the family and its members told them the police played a "negative role" in the case. They said the police even alleged she had eloped with someone.
Sharma also slammed Telangana Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali's remarks aimed at the victim, saying such politicians do not deserve such positions and need to be sensitised about such a delicate matter. Ali had stoked a controversy by inquiring why the victim had chosen to call her sister and not the police.
Politicians assure speedy justice
Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Saturday assured the family of the veterinarian that "constitutionally and legally" she would do everything to ensure they get justice soon with the setting up of a fast-track court and the trial being held on a daily basis. The police will be asked to conclude the probe and file the chargesheet against the accused at the earliest, she said.
The four accused, arrested on Friday, have been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.
Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, who also met the victim's family on Saturday, said the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) will be amended to expedite trial in grave criminal offences such as rape and murder. He said the Centre is considering a suggestion that the conviction in such cases by trial courts may be challenged only in the Supreme Court.
Reddy said the Centre, in coordination with the Telangana government, will ensure that the case is disposed of expeditiously and guilty get capital punishment. Stating there is anger among people over the shocking incident, he hoped the state government will act in tune with the people's sentiments.
Protests in several cities
The accused could not be produced before court following the presence of a restive crowd in front of the Shadnagar police station, demanding that the accused be handed over to them. The police were forced to use mild force to control the crowd.
Stones and slippers were hurled at a police vehicle as the accused were being taken to a jail in Hyderabad.
Security forces maintained tight vigil as people staged protests outside the station and shouted slogans against the culprits who raped and killed the 25-year-old veterinarian before burning her body two days ago.
Police said the protests broke out in the morning and continued till the evening. The crowd later dispersed. Some of the protesters demanded death penalty for the accused.
Similar rallies and protests held at several places in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana also demanded capital punishment for the four accused.
In New Delhi, a woman in her mid-20s sat on a pavement near the Parliament on Saturday morning protesting over the rising incidents of crimes against women. The girl, identified as Anu Dubey, was initially detained and then released from the police station after some officers heard her grievances.
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal alleged Dubey was beaten up by police.
"Troubled by the traumatic rape incident in Hyderabad, when a student wanted to raise her voice, she was detained and beaten up by the Delhi Police. I met the girl at the police station, she is scared. Will this be the fate of those who raise their voices?" asked Maliwal. The DCW issued a notice over the alleged harassment by the police.
(With inputs from agencies)