Hyderabad, Feb 14 (IANS) A shutdown was observed for the second consecutive day Thursday in Nellore town of Andhra Pradesh to condemn the gruesome murders of a medical student and her mother.
Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed while student and women's groups took out rallies, demanding stringent punishment to the guilty.
Twenty-year-old A. Bhargavi, a student of Narayana Medical College and her mother Shakuntala, 43, were killed in their house by a carpenter and his two accomplices in broad daylight Tuesday. They also injured Bhargavi's father Dinakar Reddy, who runs a pharmacy college in the town, about 500 km from Hyderabad.
Shaik Imtiaz and his two associates Murali Manohar and Vamsi Krishna were caught by police and the local people, who had surrounded the house when they were trying to escape with the cash and valuables.
The incident shocked the town, and led to massive protests over the last two days. The protestors were demanding instant death to the killers. Some even demanded that the police handover the culprits to them. The authorities have assured the people that a fast-track court would be set up for the quick disposal of the murder case.
Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that Imtiaz, who knew Reddy's family as he had carried out woodwork in their house, hatched a conspiracy to rob the house and lured Manohar and Krishna, both said to be minors. They arrived at the house after making sure that Dinakar Reddy was at college.
They told police that they threw chilli powder into Shakuntala's eyes and warned her to keep quiet. However, as she showed resistance, Imtiaz stabbed her. On hearing the cries of her mother, Bhargavi came out of her room. The accused, who were thinking that Shakuntala was alone at home, panicked and stabbed her too.
They looted the cash and valuables and were about to escape when they heard a knock at the door. The trio attacked Dinakar Reddy when he entered the house. However, as police and neighbours arrived on the scene, they locked themselves in a room.
A police officer said they were trying to find out if the accused deliberately waited for Dinakar to arrive so that they could kill him too and leave no proof as Imtiaz was believed to have spoken to him over phone before reaching his house.
Imtiaz is a diploma holder in interior designing while the other two accused are said to be Class 11 drop-outs.