Hyderabad: Despite Minister's Claim, Rape-Accused Still at Large

While the Telangana minister corrected his statement on Twitter, another averred that "there will be an encounter" after the accused is caught.

New Delhi: Following the rape and murder of a six-year-old in Hyderabad on September 9, K.T. Rama Rao, Telangana minister of municipal administration and urban development, tweeted that the perpetrator had been arrested “within hours of the incident”. However, when it later surfaced that the minister’s claims were false, massive protests erupted in the locality, NDTV reported.

After the information emerged that the culprit was still at large, Rao posted another tweet, correcting his earlier statement.

However, tension in the area prevailed and residents of the Hyderabad neighboured demanded justice for the six-year-old victim.

The victim’s inconsolable parents were joined by a large crowd consisting of local leaders and members of NGOs and rights organisations, the News Minute reported.

The events caused Malla Reddy, Telangana labour minister, to assure reporters that the culprit will be caught and that “there will be an encounter after he is caught”. The term ‘encounter’ has often been used by governments and security personnel to try and justify the extrajudicial killings of those accused of a crime.

On September 9, the victim was reported missing from her home in Hyderabad’s Singareni colony. Her body was found the next day, wrapped in a bed sheet, in her neighbour’s house. 

The neighbour, identified as one Pallakonda Raju, has been identified by the police as the culprit and a reward of Rs 10 lakh has been announced for anyone who can come forward with information about him.

The News Minute report details the events surrounding the incident. The victim had gone to visit her aunt, who lived around the corner, on September 9. However, when she didn’t return after a long time, her family began searching for her. 

Still unable to locate her, the family informed the police officers who had been in the area as part of Ganesh festival duties. Soon, the entire locality had joined the search for the girl.

The family suspected the neighbour, remarking that he remained aloof and kept to himself, even alleging that he was known to steal and that the gold earrings the victim had been wearing may have led him to abduct her.

The family, in the evening, had insisted on breaking open the door to the neighbours house but had been stopped by the police who told them that they had no right to do so without evidence. Eventually, residents of the neighbourhood managed to break open the door and found the victim, wrapped in a bloodied sheet, in a corner. In a rage, locals ransacked the house.

The police took away the girl’s body early in the morning and returned it to the family for the final rites the next day, September 10.

The police have been chasing the accused since the date; however, he has remained elusive. He does not carry a phone but the police have caught him on CCTV footage taking a bus. Several special teams have been formed to catch the alleged perpetrator.