In a major development, a Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Kunta Srinivas and his two aides were arrested on Thursday for the gruesome murder of a lawyer couple near Kalvacherla village in Peddapalli district of Telangana.
As per reports, the victims have been identified as advocate Gattu Vaman Rao and advocate Nagamani. Both of them were practising lawyers at the Telangana High Court. On Wednesday (February 17), the lawyer couple were en route to Hyderabad from Manthani court when their car was stopped by the assailants near Kalvacherla village. The duo was brutally attacked with hunting knives and their body parts were chopped.
They bled profusely while the onlookers shot the video of the attack. By the time the victims were taken to the Peddapalli Hospital, they succumbed to their injuries. A video of the incident has now gone viral on social media. The footage showed an injured Vaman Rao lying on the road and taking the name of ‘Kunta Srinivas’, who is the President of TRS’ Manthani Mandal. His wife Nagamani lay gravely injured on the backseat of the car.
Murder motives and the arrest of the TRS leader
As per reports, the primary accused has been identified as Kunta Srinivas, He along with his aides, Veldi Vasantha Rao and Akkapaka Kumar, allegedly conspired to kill the victims over an illegal house construction, their past differences and a dispute over the construction of Peddamma temple. While speaking about the case, IG Y Nagi Reddy informed, “His henchmen killed Vaman Rao. Vaman Rao’s driver also confirmed that while dying and during attack, Vaman Rao had only named Srinu.”
On Thursday, the Telangana police nabbed the three accused, including the TRS leader, and an unnamed individual from the Maharashtra border. After the case came to light, TRS General Secretary M. Srinivas Reddy informed that Kunta Srinivas has been suspended from the party. The Telangana High Court has taken cognizance of the matter on Thursday and directed the Telangana government to expedite the probe in the double murder case.
Victims had alleged harassment by police
As per News Minute, the lawyer couple had recently moved the Telangana High Court, seeking a probe in the custodial death of a Dalit man named Seelam Rangaiah that took place last year at the Manthani police station. They were granted an ‘extended protection’ by the Telangana High Court earlier this month after they were reportedly harassed by the police and several FIRs were lodged against them at different police stations in the State.
Activist Chikkudu Prabhakar said, “The couple have been fighting against the government’s illegalities for the past few days in the High Court. They have been exposing how the ruling party leaders have been exploiting public funds. The state government should take responsibility for this murder.”
He informed that the lawyer couple had alleged threats to their lives and had sought protection from Bar Association, and the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court. He added, “Yet if they were killed in this manner, it is clearly evident that the ruling party members are behind the murder.”
Lawyers, civil rights group, students stage protest over the killing of the couple
The Telangana High Court Advocates Association (THCAA) has condemned the gruesome incident and demanded the prosecution of the culprits immediately. A call for protest has also been given by the executive committee of THCAA on Thursday. “It is high time to take steps and initiate measures to enact ‘Advocate protection Act’ to rescue the advocate fraternity,” it stated.
On Thursday, lawyers across Telangana staged protests, raised slogans, and took out rallies. The police detained 40 lawyers when they headed for Raj Bhavan, following demonstrations at Nampally Criminal Court complex. The move by the police was condemned as the lawyers said that they wanted to peacefully submit a memorandum, seeking protection for lawyers, to the Governor’ House.
The lawyers at the Telangana High Court also refused to work on Thursday to express solidarity with the deceased lawyers Gattu Vaman Rao and Nagamani. At the same time, the Law students of Osmania University have called for a ‘strike’ (bandh) on the university campus. They urged the State and Central government to enforce the Advocates Protection Act to ensure the safety of the lawyers.