In a stunning twist to a crime that horrified the nation, all four men accused in the gang-rape and murder of a young veterinarian in Telangana were shot dead in the early hours of Friday by the police, who claim they were trying to escape during investigations at the spot where the woman’s body was found.
The four men, Mohammed Arif (26), Jollu Shiva (20), Jollu Naveen (20) and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu (20), had been taken to the scene of the crime at 3 am for a reconstruction, the police said. They were at the spot near a bridge where the charred body of the woman was found, around 50 km from Hyderabad, when, the police claim, one of the men signalled to the others, possibly to escape.
The police claim they fired in self-defence after two of the men attacked them, snatched their weapons and fired.
“They were killed in crossfire. They tried to snatch weapons from the guards but were shot dead,” Prakash Reddy, a deputy commissioner of police in Hyderabad, said, adding that the men died before any medical help could arrive.
A huge crowd gathered on the bridge overlooking the spot and flashed thumbs-up signs at the police; some showered flowers.
The four, arrested a day after the crime, had been in custody of the police since Wednesday.