Even as the nation wakes up to the news of a reported encounter of four accused in the gangrape and murder of a veterenarian in Hyderabad, the Cyberabad police said on Friday that the men— Areef, Shiva, Naveen and Chennakeshavulu— had attempted to escape. The police told the media that the accused men, taken to the spot for a reconstruction of the crime scene, attempted to attack the cops by taking their guns. Two policemen were also injured in the incident, they said.
The events of Friday morning, however, were uncannily similar to an alleged encounter that happened in Warangal, eleven years ago.
The top cop who is handling the Hyderabad vet's rape case, Cyberabad police chief VC Sajjanar, was Superintendent of Police in Warangal, at the time of that encounter.
In December 2008, the AP police gunned down three men accused of throwing acid on two women engineering students. The students— Swapnika and Pranitha— of the Kakatiya Institute of Technology in Warangal town were attacked after Swapnika had rejected the proposal of Srinivas, one of the accused. Srinivas Rao, 25, the main accused in the case, and his associates P Harikrishna, 24, and B Sanjay, 22, were killed in the encounter.
Similar to Friday’s reported encounter, the then SP said that a police team had gone with the accused to the scene of the crime to collect evidence. However, the men reportedly tried to attack the cops with crude bombs. Sajjanar had said that the cops opened fire in self-defence, killing all three accused.
Sajjanar, a low profile cop till then, earned the moniker 'the encounter cop' then. The arrests were made 48 hours within the attack on the girl and the encounter happened within days. Though the families of the accused and rights activists had questioned the encounter, Sajjanar became a local hero.
A Rediff.com report from 2008 describes in detail the celebrations that took place then. It says that students of the college distributed sweets and burst crackers.
The two victims, Pranitha and Swapnika, and their families too welcomed the encounter.
"I am relived that Srinivas has been killed," said Devender, Swapnika's father, according to Rediff.
The AP Chief Minister of the erstwhile united state at the time was Congress' (late) YS Rajashekar Reddy.