india activists rape march candles
Indian Youth Congress activists lighting candles during a march after a minor girl was allegedly raped and murdered, in New Delhi on August 4, 2021. Photo for illustrative purpose. Image Credit: ANI

Hyderabad: Hyderabad city police has announced a reward of Rs1 million (ten lakhs) for information about a suspect who raped and murdered a six-year-old girl amid widespread outrage,

As hundreds of policemen of Hyderabad and two neighbouring commissionerates Rachakonda and Cyberabad were looking for the suspect 30-year-old Pallakonda Raju, the incident has also raised the heckles of the political leaders.

While opposition parties have blamed the failure of the government for the heinous crime, a state minister has gone to the extent of calling for an “encounter” of the alleged rapist.

Apart from deploying several special teams to nab the fugitive, policemen were also scouring through the CCTV footage of all the cameras where the suspect could have possibly moved. While the sleuths succeeded in spotting him in one camera footage where he was seen entering a bar, there has been little progress in cornering him.

The incident of the rape and murder of the minor in Singareni colony of Sayeedabad area of the city has rocked the city. Hyderabad city police commissioner Anjani Kumar announced that anybody who provides clues leading to his arrest will be rewarded with Rs1 million cash. “Despite serious efforts, the accused Pallakonda Raju is still at large”, he told the media.

The state government has asked the police commissioner of Rachakonda to extend full cooperation to Hyderabad police. Additionally five surrounding districts’ police was also put on alert.

The incident has raised a lot of political heat as the opposition Congress party state president A Revanth Reddy visited the home of the victim and extended financial assistance to the family. He alleged that the government was not taking the incident seriously as the girl belonged to a poor tribal family. He demanded that the police should kill the accused.

Senior state minister K Taraka Rama Rao has also come under fire from the opposition for his wrong claim that the suspect was arrested soon after the crime. He was forced to correct his statement.

Another state minister Ch Malla Reddy also added fuel to the controversy by declaring that the state police will kill the rapist in “encounter”.

“He deserves death for raping and killing a child”, he said.

The girl, daughter of a laborer, went missing on the afternoon of September 9 and she was found raped and murdered in a hut later on.

The controversy assumes significance in the context of the 2019 incident in which four accused in the abduction and murder case of a lady veterinary doctor on Hyderabad outskirts were killed by the police claiming that they had attempted to flee from their custody. A Supreme Court appointed Commission of Enquiry is probing the allegations that the police had killed them in cold blood to cool down public anger.