HYDERABAD: Breaking his silence over the rape and murder of a woman veterinarian, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Sunday announced setting up of a fast track court for expeditious trial and assured all help to her family as protests against the heinous crime continued.
Facing flak over his 'silence' all these days, Rao, in his first public statement since the incident that has sparked outrage in the country, described the rape and murder of the 25-year old woman by four men as 'ghastly' and expressed his deep anguish.
The outpouring of outrage continued on Sunday as religious leaders condemned the heinous rape and murder while RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said there can't be any compromise with the dignity of women and children should be taught to always respect them.
The residents of the colony where the woman stayed turned away political leaders and others who wanted to call on her family to express their sympathies, but later in the day Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan and Congress Lok Sabha member A Revanth Reddy met the grieving members.
In other related developments, three police personnel have been suspended for alleged delay in registering an FIR on a missing complaint by the family of the woman while police said they would seek custody of the four accused, remanded to judicial remand on Saturday, for further interrogation.
Cyberabad Police appealed to the media not to telecast continuously programmes on the gruesome murder of the woman and avoid use of her name as it suggested the hashtag "#Justice for Disha" in the social media.
The woman, who worked in a state-run hospital, was raped and killed by the four accused, all lorry workers, on the city outskirts.
Her charred body was found under a culvert in Shadnagar near here on Thursday and the accused arrested a day later.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has instructed the officials that the accused in ghastly murder should be tried on a fast track and the culprits should be given stringent punishment.
The CM also decided to set up a fast track court to deal with the case," a release from his office said here.
The release pointed to the verdict in the rape and murder of a minor girl in Warrangal given within 56 days of the crime due to the setting up of a fast track court for the case and said Rao felt the judgement should come quickly in the veterinarian case as well.
The chief minister said the government would extend all necessary help to the family of the woman veterinarian, whose killing has triggered outrage.
Later at a meeting with the employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation, Rao referred to the incident and suggested women employees of the corporation should not be put on night duties, adding humans with an animal mentality were roaming around in the society.
State IT Minister KT Rama Rao, son of the chief minister, on Sunday, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to amend IPC and CrPC so as to provide for capital punishment to perpetrators of crimes against women and children.
"Amend the Indian Penal Code (IPC) & Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) so anyone who commits such a heinous act of violence on our women & children are given capital punishment without delay & NO option for review. Time has come to amend archaic portions of our Acts & Laws Sir," Rama Rao, also the TRS working president said in a series of tweets.
The incident that brought back painful memories of the 2012 Nirbhaya case had its echo at a gathering of leaders of various faiths who participated in a conclave on the importance and relevance of Hindus' holy book Gita in Delhi.
From Ram temple activist Sadhvi Rithambara to head of All India Imam Organisation Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, various religious leaders besides union ministers condemned the barbaric crime in strong words.
Speaking at the same event, Bhagwat, citing the Gita, said it talks about Karma and the society needs to respect women for its uplift.
"There can't be any compromise with their respect and dignity. The government has made strict laws in this regard and they should be implemented. The lacklustre approach of administration on the safety of women won't be accepted," he said.
Protests over the incident continued in Hyderabad on Sunday with former Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao leading a candlelight march at Necklace Road near the Hussain Sagar lake in the city.
At the colony of the deceased veterinary doctor at Shamshabad, angry neighbours locked the main gate and held aloft placards that read No Media, No Police, No Outsiders, - No sympathy, only action, justice.
Condemning the incident, a woman asked why Rao had not reacted to the incident, which occurred on Thursday.
"Police have said they nabbed the four accused who have confessed to their crime. Why is the Chief Minister not ensuring quick justice?. Why is the same treatment not being meted out to them (accused) for what they have done to the girl?" she asked.
Another woman sought to know why the Prime Minister has not yet tweeted on the incident.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the family, Balyan said: "I will try to discuss with the Prime Minister about the incident. The family, you, me and all of us want justice and speedy justice. This is the assurance I gave to the family (of the veterinarian)."
The Minister of State for Animal Husbandry Dairying and Fisheries said he would meet the Cyberabad Police Commissioner also and press for ensuring speedy justice.
Meanwhile, a police official on Sunday said they planned to file a petition in court seeking the custody of the four accused for further interrogation.
"It (custodial interrogation) may be done in the jail itself," the senior official told PTI.
The four accused have been kept in solitary confinement in high-security cells in theCherlapally Central Prison here and put under heightened surveillance to ensure their safety, a senior jail official said.
Protests were held in Hyderabad and various other places in Telangana against the incident on Saturday, with the anguished citizens demanding that the accused be handed out the stringent punishment of death penalty.
Cyberabad Police Commissioner V C Sajjanar in a release said the victim's real name should not be used in media and social media and requested them to refer to her as "#Justice for Disha" to protect anonymity/ confidentiality and the rights of the victim's family.