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AP: Youths accused in acid attack killed in encounter

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad | December 13, 2008 11:56 IST

The acid attack on two college students in Warangal took another gruesome turn on Friday night, when the three accused in the case were shot dead by the police in an encounter in the outskirts of Warangal.
 
District Superintendent of Police V C Sajjanar said that the three accused S Srinvas Rao, Potharaju Harikrishna and B Sanjay were killed when they attacked the policemen while trying to escape.
 
The police had taken the three youths to a place near Mamnoor hillock, in the outskirts of Warangal, where they had reportedly hidden the material used to target the two engineering students.
 
The two college going girls, Swapnalika and Pranitha,  were seriously injured and disfigured in the attack on Wednesday, which sent shock waves across the state.
 
"In a preplanned move, they had hidden knives, a country made pistol, acid and a motorcycle at the spot," said Sajjanar after visiting the scene of the encounter.
 
"They attempted to flee by throwing acid at the policemen and tried to attack them with knives and the pistol, and the police fired in self defence," he said. The policemen had asked the youths to surrender, said Sajjanar, but they refused to do so.

Earlier, all three accused had been produced before the media in Warangal on Friday, where Srinivas admitted that he had attacked Swapnalika with the intention of disfiguring her. "If she could not become mine, no one else should get her," said the engineering college drop-out. Srinivas was angry with Swapnlika as she had rejected his amorous advances.

The police said Harikrishna and Sanjay had helped Srinivas plan and carry out the attack. Pranitha also became a victim as she and Swapnalika were riding on the same two wheeler.

Both Swapnalika and Pranitha are the final year students of B Tech in the Kakatiya Institute of Technology and Sciences in Warangal.
 
The trio told the police that they had practiced for the attack for over a month. 

Potharaju Saraiah, father of Harikrishna, alleged that the youths were killed in a fake encounter staged by the police. "Instead of producing him in the court, they killed him in cold blood," claimed Saraiah.
 
K Balagopal, convener of the Human Rights Forum and Jeevan Kumar, Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Forum also condemned the police for killing three accused in a fake encounter.

"Though there were witnesses and evidence, instead of proving their guilt in the court of law, the police killed them," Balagopal said.

He demanded the suspension of SP Sajjanar and the dismissal of the policemen involved in the incident.
 
"I don't have any doubt that this is a fake encounter," said Jeevan Kumar.
 
On the other hand, some women activists refused to condemn the encounter.

"Whether it was a fake encounter or not is a secondary issue. They had committed a brutal crime against women. Even if they were kept in jail, they would have come out on bail after six months," said V Jhansi, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party's women's wing Mahila Morcha.

Swapnalika, who is undergoing treatment in a city hospital, is reportedly in a critical condition.

Pranitha, whose face was partially disfigured in the attack, had told the media in Hyderabad on Friday that she wanted her tormentors to die in an acid attack. "They should be killed in the same manner in which they tried to kill us," she said.






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