The men had reportedly been taken to an area near the initial crime scene by police in order to reconstruct the events that led up to 26-year-old Priyanka Reddy’s horrific death when one of the accused grabbed an officer’s service weapon and fired, attempting an escape. All four were killed when police shot back, according to the Shamshabad district police chief.
The group was arrested in late November after Reddy’s charred corpse was found by a local resident beneath an overpass on the outskirts of the city of Hyderabad. According to police, the group punctured a tire on Reddy’s unattended motorbike and then offered to give her a ride when she returned, ultimately abducting the young woman. It is believed she died of suffocation before the men attempted to incinerate her remains.
The gruesome killing sparked widespread outrage and protests across India, with tens of thousands gathering on the streets of Hyderabad to demand justice for Reddy. Police were forced to call in reinforcements to prevent an enraged mob from lynching the suspects on the spot, ultimately dispersing the crowd when demonstrators began hurling projectiles at officers.The accused were identified as Mohammad Areef – the prime suspect – Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen, and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu. Many Indians demanded a harsh punishment for the suspects in the wake of the murder, including the death penalty, with the mother of one of the men even stating: “If my son is wrong, burn him the same way [Reddy] was burned.”
— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2019
While the reaction to the men’s killing in what is reported to be an ill-fated escape attempt was overwhelmingly positive on social media – many commending the police for “dealing” with the criminals – some were more critical, arguing it set a “dangerous” precedent.
BIG BREAKING: all four Hyderabad rape and murder accused shot dead in ‘encounter’ with cops! What kind of bizarre world are we living in: fast track trigger happy justice no substitute for fast track courts. https://t.co/s8DH9a488D
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) December 6, 2019
This is not justice. This is the police breaking the law . It’s dangerous. The legal system exists for a reason. https://t.co/5aoSRTLt2I
— Faye DSouza (@fayedsouza) December 6, 2019
Others wondered whether the encounter was a deliberate public relations stunt staged by the police to boost their image, though little evidence was offered in support of the theory.
All 4 rape and murder accused in Hyderabad doctor’s case killed in an encounter by Police! This is so surprising! Not sure whether to feel happy or shocked! The encounter must have been deliberate, since all 4 died. After all they were in judicial custody, isn’t it?
— Shantinath Chaudhary (@shantihp) December 6, 2019
The father of the victim was also allowed a chance to weigh in, telling the ANI news agency: “It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died. I express my gratitude towards the police [and government] for this. My daughter’s soul must be at peace now.”
Father of the woman veterinarian on all 4 accused killed in police encounter: It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died. I express my gratitude towards the police & govt for this. My daughter's soul must be at peace now. #Telangana pic.twitter.com/aJgUDQO1po
— ANI (@ANI) December 6, 2019