India: Protesters demand justice for rape-slay of young vet in Hyderabad

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A police station on the outskirts of the Indian city of Hyderabad was surrounded Saturday, November 30, by thousands of protesters demanding mob justice for the four men accused of raping and murdering a 27 year old woman.

Some protesters clashed with the police, hurling slippers, after the charred body of the woman, a veterinarian, was found in the town of Shadnagar, near Hyderabad, on Thursday. The protesters demanded that the four men be handed over to them.

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 were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days, police said.

The victim’s mother demanded that the culprits be burnt alive, the Times of India newspaper quoted her as saying.

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. The crime 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.

“If your blood doesn’t boil even now, it’s not blood but water,” they chanted. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)

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