Protesters in India demand justice after woman found raped and murdered near Hyderabad
Thousands of protesters have gathered outside a police station on the outskirts of the Indian city of Hyderabad demanding four men accused of raping and murdering a 27-year-old woman be handed over to them.
Some protesters clashed on Saturday (local time) with police, hurling slippers, after the charred body of the woman, a veterinarian, was found in the nearby town of Shadnagar on Thursday.
Police said medical evidence would be hard to obtain given the state of the body but that they were working on the assumption the victim had been raped.
The four accused have been remanded in custody for 14 days, police said.
The woman went missing on Wednesday night and her body was found by a passer-by in an underpass on the outskirts of Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana state, police commissioner VC Sajjanar said.
People hold placards and shout slogans as they take part in a protest against the alleged rape and murder of the 27-year-old vet.
Police said the suspects allegedly offered to fix a flat tire on the victim’s motorbike then took her in a truck to a secluded spot where she was killed.
Her last phone call was to her sister saying her bike had broken down and she was scared because some people sitting in a truck were staring at her, Mr Sajjanar said.
Surendar, another police officer who uses one name, said her body was wrapped in a blanket and set on fire in the underpass.
The victim’s mother demanded that the culprits be burnt alive, the Times of India newspaper quoted her as saying.
‘Women are being raped everywhere’
The incident is reminiscent of the fatal gang rape of a young woman, labelled Nirbhaya (Fearless) by Indian media, on board a bus in 2012.
Her murder sparked widespread protests and drew international attention to violence against women in India.
The current case has also provoked outrage on social media with #HangRapists trending on Twitter in India.
“It has been 7 yrs to the gut-wrenching #Nirbhaya case & our moral fabric continues to be in pieces,” Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar tweeted.
“We need stricter laws. This needs to STOP!”
India’s National Commission for Women has condemned the incident, with its head Rekha Sharma saying it “won’t leave any stone unturned till these perpetrators get the punishment they deserve”.
The commission advises the Government on policy regarding women’s rights and aims to provide a voice for issues ranging from sexual exploitation to employment, but has no judicial powers.
On Saturday, around 30 protesters including college students rallied outside a police station in central Delhi, carrying placards demanding justice and an end to crime against women.
People attend a candle light march on the outskirts of Hyderabad, in New Delhi, to protest against gang rape and murder of women.
“If your blood doesn’t boil even now, it’s not blood but water,” they chanted.
One of the protesters, student Kanchan Pal, 19, said she wanted to raise her voice in support of rape victims.
“Women are being raped everywhere, whether it is Delhi or Hyderabad or any other state,” said Ms Pal.
“We don’t feel safe.”