Hyderabad, December 7
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) fact-finding team from Delhi on a three-day visit to Telangana today started its on-the-spot investigation into facts leading to an encounter in which all four accused in the Hyderabad gangrape and murder accused were killed on Friday.
The team is accompanied by medical specialists who conducted an examination of the bodies in the Mahabubnagar Civil Hospital.
The four accused were gunned down on the same spot where they had allegedly raped and murdered a 26-year-old veterinarian on November 27. The accused had been taken to the spot for the reconstruction of the crime scene. None of the members of the NHRC team spoke to the media either at the hospital or Novotel Hotel where they have been lodged. A team of the Investigation Division of the Commission is headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP).
Experts are probing if the encounter was genuine as claimed by the Telangana Police or was an extrajudicial killing as has been alleged by some human rights and civil liberty groups. The doctors accompanying the NHRC team are believed to have conducted a second autopsy on the bodies of the four accused and videographed the proceedings. This will be compared with the first autopsy. Sources said the team had recorded the number of bullet injuries, the angles at which the bullets entered the bodies and the distance from which the bullets were fired.
The local police have been restricting the entry of the media trying to contact the NHRC team members.
The NHRC had taken a suo-motu notice of the killing of the accused and ordered a probe based on media reports after they were shown on television soon after the encounter took place. The Telangana High Court has restricted the state police to preserve the bodies till December 9, when a PIL into the killing will be heard.
Yesterday, the NHRC issued a statement saying, “The commission is of the opinion that this matter is required to be probed very carefully.”
The NHRC team is expected to visit Chattanpalli village near Shadnagar, 50 km from here, which is the encounter site, and underpass near a toll plaza on the city outskirts, where the woman was allegedly gangraped, tomorrow morning and will also meet the families of the four dead accused.
Only one of the four men was married and his wife is pregnant and has no family of her own. The bodies may be shifted to Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad as Mahabubnagar hospital lacks the facilities to preserve the bodies for a longer duration.
Civil right activists have said the NHRC and SC guidelines say the police have the right to shoot to kill or immobilise only if the police is attacked by the suspects or force is required to arrest the person accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
Further, the NHRC guidelines say use of force cannot be justified and the death falls outside the jurisdiction of the above mentioned, it is a crime and the police officer would be guilty of culpable homicide.
The police have received a lot of accolades from the locals, but the NHRC team’s visit to the state has put a question mark on the action of the local police and possibly liable to action if found guilty.
The SC guidelines pertaining to a killing in an encounter mandate that within 48 hours of the encounter, a preliminary report should be sent to the commission. — TNS
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