Rising violence shocks Hyderabad

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on December 03, 2019

Even as the Nirbhaya killers of 2012 await their fate in Delhi’s Tihar jail, the brutal kidnap, rape and burning of Disha on the outskirts of Hyderabad has shaken the nation. Representational image

The crescendo of criticism that the gruesome kidnap, rape and burning to death of ‘Disha’, a 27-year-old veterinary doctor has raised, might become an indelible black mark on Hyderabad, a rapidly emerging metropolis.

In just over a year, at least five men have been brutally murdered, and four young women raped and murdered,in the city. This has shown up the violent underbelly of Hyderabad, which is fast emerging as the best place to live in India by several surveys, including a global study by Mercer. It also reflects the poor law and order situation in Telangana.

Macabre incidents

At regular intervals, peace has been shattered by instances of macabre killings/attacks that have shaken the collective conscience of the 428-year-old city of Nawabs with its famous ‘Ganga-Jamuna’ culture that allows Hindus and Muslims to live harmoniously together.

Since the public hacking of Ramesh, a 24-year-old, by a group of men in Attapur in September 2018, the violence graph has peaked in Telangana with three women falling prey to crime in November 2019.

Even as the Nirbhaya killers of 2012 await their fate in Delhi’s Tihar jail, the brutal kidnap, rape and burning of Disha on the outskirts of Hyderabad has shaken the nation.

Instant justice

The same high-pitched protests, calls for public lynching, shooting and hanging of the perpetrators have dominated the social media, Parliament and public discourse.

Fast action

Cyberabad Police Chief VC Sajjanar announced within 48 hours of the crime that they have nabbed four alleged perpetrators, put them behind bars at Cherlapally jail, and suspended three cops for a delay in the filing of FIR.

Incidentally, several years back, Sajjanar, then a Superintendant of Police, had won widespread praise from the public and criticism from sections of the civil society for shooting, on government orders, a couple of youth who had allegedly indulged in acid attacks on young girls in Warangal district.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who just overcame a tough strike by about 48,000 employees of the State Road Transport Corporation, reacted 72 hours after Disha’s rape and murder, as the incident drew reactions of shock and horror from across the world.

The CM ordered the fast-tracking of the case, quick inquiry and justice. His son and Minister for IT, KT Rama Rao, has been trying to shift the focus to the Centre. He took to Twitter to appeal to the Prime Minister to amend the IPC and enable other legislation to accelerate justice, even while pointing to the delay in the Nirbhaya case.

Police found wanting

To their credit, the State and Hyderabad Police under the DGP, Mahender Reddy, have taken several steps in the past few years to improve safety. These include installing 10,000 CCTV surveillance cameras, a separate SHE team to focus on women’s safety, a dedicated phone line to report crimes‪, sensitising the police and improved ‬ patrolling. However, periodic incidents have exposed their inadequacies.

The State government has raised the salaries of police personnel, and provided better vehicles and gadgets to enhance their performance. But, critics point out, their work culture, attitude and commitment are still woefully short when it comes to handling the challenges posed by the huge population growth, and the changing nature, pattern and modus operandi of crimes.

Experts have been blaming the rising crime rate on easy access to porn, the poor portrayal of women in cinema, decreasing fear of law, delays in delivering justice, the mental health of youth taking to crimes of passion or deviant behaviour, and excess deployment of security personnel in VIP duties. The easy access to the internet and the large number of outlets selling alcohol in Telangana are also being blamed for the high crime rate.

Shocking incidents

Here is a chronology of the events that shattered the peace of the State and rocked public conscience

September 14, 2018: Perumalla Pranay Kumar, a Dalit, was murdered when he was leaving a hospital with his pregnant wife at Miryalguda in Nalgonda district. it was a case of ‘honour killing’, with the father of the woman hiring professional killers to eliminate his son-in-law for the inter-caste marriage.

‪September 26: Ramesh, a 24-year-old, was hacked to death in full public glare in Attapur, enroute to the airport, by his opponents, following a feud involving a woman‬

October 8, 2018: Close on the heels of the Attapur murder, 38-year-old Raju was hacked to death in front of his father in Maheshwaram by a couple of assailants. The trigger was a family feud.

May 31, 2019: A fruit vendor from Musheerabad, Mohammed Pasha, was chased and hacked to death in broad daylight by rivals on the Mumbai-Hyderabad highway, even as scores of people watched in dismay. The trigger was enmity.

June 8: A 21-year-old man was stabbed repeatedly in Sanjeevareddy Nagar in the heart of Hyderabad by his 19-year-old wife’s relatives for marrying against the wishes of her parents. Luckily, he survived.‬

Nov 4: Vijaya Reddy, a Tehsildhar, was burnt alive in her office in Abdullapurmet in Rangareddy district, about 45 km from Hyderabad. The attacker, and the Tehsildhar’s driver, also succumbed to burn injuries within days of the gruesome tragedy.

Nov 27: A 19-year-old girl, who went out to celebrate her birthday in Warangal, went missing from home, according to her parents. Her body was found the day after near Hunter Road and police arrested the murderer on a tip-off. The accused, who was known to the girl, had lured her, and then raped and murdered her.

Published on December 03, 2019

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