Hyderabad, TELANGANA: On Friday, shortly after the National Human Rights Commission ordered a probe into the encounter killing of the four accused in the Hyderabad sexual assault and murder case, lawyers from the Indian Constitutionalists Council, an Ambedkarite advocates group, have sent a letter to S.A. Bobde, the Chief Justice of India, requesting the court to intervene and grant justice to the “murdered accused”.
In the letter, which is copied to the Chief Justice of High Court of Telangana, Director General of Police, Telangana, and the National Human Rights Commission, advocate Gunaratan Sadavate and Jayashree Patil, two Mumbai-based lawyers, who have signed the letter on behalf of the collective, requested the SC to order a Central Bureau of Investigation-Special Investigation Team (CBI-SIT) probe into the killing.
The council, which has 5,400 members, has also asked the court to direct police to lodge a First Information Report against Telangana DGP Mahender Reddy and other police officials, including Commissioner of Police-Cyberabad, V. C. Sajjanar, for “murdering” the accused in cold blood. The trial of the case should not be held in Telangana, but in Mumbai, the letter read.
The letter read, “That the law permits for every accused fair trial and thereafter punishment shall only be by due process of law which is by the spirit of Article 21 of the Constitution of India… such punishment is against the spirit of Constitutional thought of this nation”.
The rape and murder of the 27-year-old veterinarian had led to widespread outrage and demands from even parliamentarians for lynching and castration of the accused, who were killed before the investigation could be completed. The police have said that the men were killed in crossfire because they “attacked policemen”.
The letter said that as the accused were handcuffed and had no firearms, they could not have attacked the police as claimed by Sajjanar. In the press conference held on Friday afternoon, Sajjanar had said in response to media queries that “the accused were not in handcuffs”. He, however, did not elaborate on why the handcuffs were removed shortly before the alleged crossfire.
The lawyers collective has also asked the court to direct the government to release ex gratia compensation for the families of all the four accused.
The NHRC had also insisted that law enforcement agencies should uphold the “right to life and equality before law”.