Whether the incident was staged would be known years later if properly inquired into, but an idea floated on social media on 1 December turned into reality this morning. Police took the four people accused of raping and killing the veterinarian near Hyderabad to the scene of crime near Shamsabad for a reconstruction of the happenings of last Wednesday, from where they tried to flee and were shot dead. Even though Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar was not present on the scene, the sequence bears a stark resemblance with an incident of 2008 when he was the superintendent of police, Warangal.
The ‘encounter’ has been welcomed by the vet’s family and it has met with cheers from the social media crowd that was dying for vigilante justice until yesterday. At the time of reporting of the incident, hashtag #JusticeForDisha had received almost 33,000 tweets and was, time and again, ranking on top of Indian Twitter trends.
On Friday, as soon as the news arrived that the four accused were killed in an encounter by the police, an overwhelming number of social media users said no other form of ‘justice’ could have been better for the victim and her family.
People at large have been heaping praise on Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar. Last week, immediately after the rape and murder, he had said the law would catch the accused as soon as possible. Within 60 hours of the crime, the police arrested the suspects indeed. And a week thereafter, they are all dead.
At 3:30 in the morning, the police took the four accused to the scene of the crime. The police wanted to understand the whole incident from the viewpoint of the accused. They had confessed to their crime already, but their story had to be related to the actual crime scene, police can always tell the court to explain the ‘encounter’!
Crime story reconstruction is as such a standard operating procedure (SOP) of the police. The entire episode of the incident can be connected to the respective spots where the accused say they committed different parts of the crime and then every angle of the incident is checked. This part of the investigation by the police is important also in court proceedings. It builds circumstantial evidence.
The four tried to escape from the police’s hold, the police say and add “there was no option” but to shoot them. The four succumbed to their bullet injuries on the spot. Later, their bodies were sent to a government hospital.
Commissioner VC Sajjanar said the incident took place between 3 AM and 6 AM. He said that the accused Mohammad Arif, Naveen, Siva and Chennakeshvulu had been killed in the encounter. He said, “I have reached the spot and other information will be shared soon.”
DCP Prakash Reddy of Shamsabad said that Hyderabad Police had brought the accused to the crime spot so that the scene could be recast but the accused snatched weapons from the police and fired at the cops. The police opened fire in self-defence and all the four accused were killed.
Telangana Law Minister Indrakaran Reddy said “God” punished the accused before the legal process could. When the accused tried to escape, they were shot. This brings joy to the entire country including Hyderabad, Reddy said. He echoed the police story that the accused were trying to escape with the police weapon.
This entire action of Hyderabad Police has been declared correct by former UP DGP Vikram Singh. He said that in such a situation the police have no option left. Talking to a TV channel, he also congratulated the Hyderabad Police.
In 2008, police in Warangal, near Hyderabad, had similarly killed in an ‘encounter’ three students who had been accused of an acid attack. Sajjanar used to be the police superintendent of Warangal at the time. He had taken the three accused to the scene to recreate the incident in a fashion similar to today’s sequence of events. He then claimed that the accused had tried to escape and the police had to kill them in an “encounter”.
The only difference is that Sajjanar was not present at the crime scene today, but the sequence does carry his signature style.