Prosecute cops who killed Disha rape-murder accused in fake encounter: SC panel

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The three-member panel, led by an ex-judge of the top court, said three of the four rape and murder accused, killed in the encounter, were minors. The panel, in its report to the Supreme Court, recommended trial of accused policemen for murder.

A 26-year-old veterinary doctor was raped and murdered at Shamshabad near Hyderabad in November 2019 leading to a massive national uproar.

The subsequent killing of the four accused in police custody was referred to ‘Disha encounter’. The name Disha was given by police to the rape and murder victim to protect her identity. She was a veterinary assistant surgeon at a state-run hospital and was attacked one night by the four men.

The four men had raped and smothered the woman to death and then loaded her body into a truck and burned it under a bridge later that night. As the incident sparked nationwide outrage, the Telangana police came under pressure to deliver punishment without delay on the basis of a fast-track court trial.

All the accused were killed in police custody on December 6, 2019, under a bridge on the Bengaluru-Hyderabad national highway. According to the police, the accused had allegedly snatched guns and attacked the officers. In the ensuing gunfight, all the four accused were shot dead, said the Cyberabad Police. Although the ‘Disha encounter’ was viewed by many as an instance of extrajudicial execution, thousands across the country celebrated the ‘swift justice’ in the form of the death of the accused.

The Justice Sirpurkar Commission was constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate the allegations of extrajudicial killings of the accused by the Cyberabad Police.