In India, sometimes public outrage is necessary for assailants to see justice, especially when it comes to crimes like rape or other incidences of violence against women. That's what happened on Friday, when a few local cops took the law into their own hands, and played jury and executioner when they shot and killed four men suspected of involvement in the brutal slaying of a young female veterinarian while in Police custody.
The men had been arrested in connection with the gang-rape and murder of a 27-year-old veterinarian who was strangled to death, and her body set on fire in the southern city of Hyderabad.
Courtesy of CNN
Though the victim hasn't been publicly identified due to India's laws against naming victims of sexual violence, the discovery of her charred remains on Nov. 27 set off nationwide outrage and protests in several cities, including New Delhi and Bengaluru, where marchers carried signs demanding the death penalty for the perpetrators.
The four men, aged 20 to 26, allegedly confessed to the murder after being arrested by police in Hyderabad last week. On Friday, police said they needed to take the men to the scene of where the victim's body was found. The reason for the trip wasn't made clear: police said they needed to "reconstruct" the attack (but why after the men had allegedly "confessed"?).
At some point after arriving at the scene on the outskirts of the city in the early hours of Friday morning, several of the suspects allegedly tried to steal the weapons of their officer escorts. In response, the police opened fire and all four men were killed in the crossfire, a senior police official told CNN.
"Some of the accused snatched the weapons from the police personnel and fired at them," the official said. "In self-defense, the police fired at the accused."
An ambulance was called, but all four young men were pronounced dead at the scene.
Hyderabad police said they will hold a press conference later on Friday to explain what happened in greater detail, but the police have already been accused of taking the law into their own hands.
A Supreme Court lawyer claimed that the killings will make it impossible to learn whether the men really did kill the young veterinarian.
For all we know, these men were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and perhaps it was the police that was responsible for the girl's death. Now we'll never know.