NEW DELHI: Public anger spilled on to the streets of the southern Indian city of Hyderabad for the second consecutive day on Sunday, with several demanding capital punishment for the four men accused of raping and burning to death a 27-year-woman on Wednesday night.
Hundreds of residents from where the victim resided took to the streets and stopped police, politicians and the media from visiting the girl’s family, seeking immediate punishment for the men who were arrested on Friday.
“We want the same treatment to be meted out to the culprits — they should also be burnt to death,” said Kanchan Rao, who was holding a placard with the slogan “No sympathy, only action, justice.”
The four arrested are two truck drivers and two cleaners who, it is alleged, gang raped and killed the 27-year-old veterinarian near a toll plaza on the outskirts of Hyderabad, when she sought help to fix a tire on her motorbike.
Police said that after killing the woman, the culprits took the body to a nearby area and burnt it, where it was discovered on Thursday morning.
The victim, who worked at a government hospital, had spoken to her sister before the incident took place.
Audio from the conversation triggered public outrage and sparked protests across the country when it was released — with tensions heightening over the fast-moving case.
“I don’t believe the police have arrested the right persons,” said Jameela Nishat, a Hyderabad-based activist and founder of Shaheen Women’s Resource and Welfare Association, an NGO working for the rights of women.
“I along with hundreds of women came with the hope that justice will be done for the victim’s family. The administration should show more promptness in ensuring safety for women in society. This is not the first case of rape, such incidents have become common these days and we are worried,” Nishat told Arab News.
“Hyderabad has always been a safe city. For us it was unbelievable to learn about the tragedy. It reminded us about the Nirbhaya case in Delhi in 2012 in which a 23-year-old paramedic (called Jyoti Singh) was raped and killed by five men on a bus. The incident shook the conscience of the nation and it led to a mass movement,” said Nishat.
Pooja Kumar, who also participated in the protest, said that “security is our right, it’s not a gift. The incident like this leaves a chilling impact on women.”
There is anger among people against politicians and police, who refused to register the case immediately after the incident.
Several also expressed anger at the comments made by Telengana Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali, who said that the victim should have called the police instead of her sister.
Several Indian celebrities also weighed in to the public discourse, expressing anguish at the incident.
“These are the worst kind of shaitans (demons) disguised in human form. The pain, torture and death of innocent women should now bring us together ... before any other innocent women go through this extreme agony and loss,” Bollywood actor Salman Khan said on social network Twitter.
Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar said his heart went out to the family.
“What those men did to her is another dark reminder of how unsafe we’ve allowed our society to become by not delivering swift and telling justice. My heart goes out to her family in their hours of unimaginable grief.”
Meanwhile, the local bar association announced that it would not take up the case of the accused in court, citing “moral and social responsibility.”
Singh’s father, Badri Nath Singh, demanded the “harshest punishment for the accused.”
He told Arab News: “The problem is that the system is slow and it takes endless time for the government to act. My daughter’s culprits are still alive despite receiving death sentences.”
Hyderabad-based political analyst Venkat Narayan said that “such incidents are not only a blot on the society, but affect the image of India abroad.
“The tragedy is that despite having a strong stance on violence against women, crime against them is increasing. The frequency of rape incident is also increasing. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way we raise our sons. The patriarchal system is still very dominant, despite women having larger public space now than before,” Narayan said.