There’s a sense of shock, rage and helplessness across the country as citizens from all walks of life express outrage over the horrific rape and murder of a hyderabad-based veterinary doctor that has brought back chilling memories of nirbhaya rape case.

The gruesome rape and murder of 27-year-old government veterinary doctor in Hyderabad has left the country shocked and seething. The victim, a resident of Shamshabad locality, had left her scooter at the Tondupally Toll Plaza at the Outer Ring Road (ORR) and left for Gachibowli on work in a cab, like she would everyday. When she returned to the toll plaza, she found that her tyre was punctured.

Police suspect that the assailants deliberately punctured the scooter’s tyre, following which they won her confidence in the pretext of offering help to fix her tyre. The unidentified men took her to the adjacent service road, raped her and then set her body ablaze at a location 25 km away. Her body was found underneath an underpass of a flyover on NH-44 (Hyderabad-Bengaluru Highway) at Chatanpally in Shadnagar, about 60 km away from Hyderabad.

The gruesome nature of the crime has brought back chilling memories of the Nirbhaya incident that took place in Delhi on 16 December, 2012, that shook the conscience of the entire nation. People from all walks of life have now come together to demand capital punishment for the accused. “Incidents like these make us question, how safe is our city really?

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All this band-baaja we’re doing about SHE Teams, etc is just an eyewash. What does it say about the law and order situation in Hyderabad if a woman is not just raped, but burnt alive near a toll plaza?”, fumes Sunitha Krishnan, activist and co-founder of Prajwala, an NGO that rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates victims of sex-trafficking into the mainstream society. “The Gachibowli-Shamshabad stretch has been declared as a safe corridor by the government and the police, so an incident like this shocks you to the core. I feel that the police and the highway patrol should do their job better.

Instead of giving speeches and lectures, they should work to ensure crimes like these don’t take place,” says Sunitha, adding, “The accused deserve nothing less than capital punishment. A capital punishment sends across a powerful message as well and is the right precedent to set for crimes of this nature.”
On Friday morning, #Nirbhaya was trending once again on social media with men, women, celebrities, politicians and activists from all walks of life across the country expressing outrage over the incident and demanding capital punishment for the accused.

Young women in the city’s IT sector are horrified that such a despicable crime took place on the Gachibowli-Shamshabad stretch, that is considered to be one of the safest parts of Hyderabad. “Is our city safe for women at all? There are many times that I argue with my parents about going out on my own to attend parties in the evening. They tell me that it’s not safe but as a young, independent woman, I like to travel on my own. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s so sad that women will have to depend on other men to commute because the authorities can’t keep us safe. These are truly terrible times,” says Deepthi Kontham, who works in an MNC in Hitec City.

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Mythili Pragada, an architect living in Gachibowli, shares Deepthi’s fears. “I frequently travel alone from Gachibowli to the airport in Shamshabad. It scares me that an incident like this can take place near a toll plaza. What does it take for a woman to commute freely, without worried about being raped or killed?” she asks.

Hyderabadi women believe that they should take control of their own safety and take necessary precautions. “It’s on us basically to be alert all the time. Carry pepper spray, share live location with your loved ones via whatsapp or Google maps and keep them informed about your whereabouts. Unless necessary don’t travel late at night if you’re alone. These are measures we could take rather than expecting police to be entirely responsible for our safety all the time,” adds Ami Cheddha, a resident of Gachibowli.

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Even as outrage over the incident is at an all-time high, cops assure that they’re doing everything they can to safeguard women. SHE Teams officers assert that they continue to work round-the-clock for women’s safety and that incident musn’t take anything away from those efforts. “Although I cannot comment on this individual case as it doesn’t come under our jurisdiction, it is undoubtedly a tragic case and the police will ensure that the culprits are brought to book as soon as possible and justice is delivered to the victim’s family.

As far as the SHE Teams are concerned, we are extremely conscious about the need for women’s safety and security and we are working day in and day out to make sure that the city remains safe for women, especially at night,” says Shikha Goel, SHE Teams in-charge.”We have cars patrolling all day and are always available on our emergency number. Just this one incident shouldn’t cause fear amongst people. We are always there and we ensure their safety. Other than that, I think personal precaution is always necessary too — be it men or women,” she adds. #KhabarLive