Lawyers staged a protest in Hyderabad on Thursday after a lawyer couple was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants in broad daylight in Peddapalli district on Wednesday.
In the horrific crime, which was caught on camera, an advocate couple practising in the Telangana High Court was brutally murdered in broad daylight by unidentified persons.
Gattu Vamana Rao (53) and his wife Gattu Nagamani (50), who were returning in a car to Hyderabad after appearing for a case in a local court at Manthani, were waylaid and stabbed indiscriminately by unidentified persons, who came in a SUV, near Kalwacheral in Ramagiri mandal.
The assailants blocked the way with their SUV, leaving no escape route for the couple. Buses and other vehicles came to a halt on both sides and motorists watched the killings in horror. Some of the passersby captured the gory pictures on their phone cameras. One of the videos shows the assailants escaping in their SUV.
The viral videos show Rao lying in a pool of blood on the road and Nagamani sitting still, stuck between the two seats of the car.
Some passersby managed to get close to Rao, who took the name of one 'Kunta Srinivas', said to be a local leader of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
The police took the couple to a hospital in Peddapalli where they died during treatment. The police have taken the couple's driver into custody and are questioning him, while also sealing several routes to stop the assailants from escaping.
Ramagunda Police Commissioner V. Satyanarayana told IANS that six teams were formed to catch the culprits. "We will catch the culprits, no matter how powerful they are," he said.
The couple was arguing some controversial cases, including a disproportionate assets case they had filed against Zilla Parishad Chairman Putta Madhukar.
They had also filed a Public Interest Litigation on the alleged lockup death of a Dalit in Manthani police station, and sought protection, alleging threatening calls.
The HC in February this year had directed the police to ensure that the advocate couple was not harassed. Rao's brother Indrasekhar said he suspected Kunta Srinivas, who was allegedly involved in land encroachments. The advocate was fighting the cases against him.
Meanwhile, Congress leader and Manthani MLA D Sridhar Babu demanded a judicial probe and a CBI inquiry into the incident. BJP's state unit chief Bandi Sanjay also demanded a high-level probe into the murders.
Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali condemned the murders, calling them "inhumane." He said in a statement that the incident is being viewed very seriously and that the culprits would be dealt with stringently as per law.
"The investigation into the heinous murders of the advocate couple has been launched and special teams have been formed and pressed into action for apprehending the culprits who have already been identified by the police," he said.
(With inputs from IANS)