Police kill suspects held over rape and murder of Indian vet after they ‘attacked officers and tried to escape’

Police in India have shot dead four men who were being held as suspects over the rape and murder of a vet in Hyderabad last week.

The charred remains of the victim, 27, were found a day after she disappeared and the case caused widespread anger in India over the police’s handling of rape and violence against women.

The suspects were taken back to the scene of the crime but were shot after they attempted to escape and steal guns from officers, according to Hyderabad’s police.

"They tried to snatch weapons from the guards but were shot dead," Prakash Reddy, the deputy commissioner of police in Shamshabad, near Hyderabad, said. "They were killed in crossfire."

"We called an ambulance but they died before any medical help could reach them."

Mr Reddy confirmed that two police officers were injured in the incident.

Her family welcomed the news of the killings of the alleged perpetrators.

"It has been 10 days to the day my daughter died," the victim’s father told ANI news agency. "I express my gratitude towards the police and government for this. My daughter’s soul must be at peace now." 

The four men were arrested on charges of raping, murdering and burning the body of the veterinary doctor, who had parked her scooter on a busy highway on November 27.

Police said the men deflated her scooter tyre and lured her to a truck yard with the promise of fixing the machine. They allegedly then raped and murdered her before setting her body on fire under an isolated bridge, where her remains were found by a milkman last Thursday morning.

High-profile cases of violence against women have provoked fury in India. Thousands of people took to the streets across the country on Monday to protest the brutal attack in Hyderabad. Activists have called for rape cases to be fast-tracked through the courts and for tougher sentences. 

Three officers were suspended last week after the family of the victim accused the police of inaction after some officers told the family that she may have eloped. She had left home on her scooter on Wednesday evening for a doctor’s appointment but had later called her family when she had a flat tyre.

On Thursday, a 23-year-old woman was left in a critical condition after being set on fire by a group of men, including two of her alleged rapists, as she made her way to court for the case in Unnao, in the northern district of Uttar Pradesh.

According to government statistics, nearly 100 women are raped in India every day.

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