Updated: February 18, 2021 3:43:35 pm
“Where the mind is without fear the head is held high.” This was the WhatsApp display status of lawyer couple G Vaman Rao and G Nagamani, who were waylaid on a busy highway in Telangana, pulled out of their vehicle, and hacked to death on Wednesday afternoon.
Rao and Nagamani, who practised in the Telangana High Court, were known for their activism. They were attacked in Peddapalli district by two people between 2:15 and 2:30 pm when they were coming to Hyderabad, according to the Ramagundam Police.
Scores of people witnessed the attack—at least three state transport buses, dozens of cars and two-wheelers stopped on the highway as the couple’s car was blocked by the assailants. Several people also shot videos of the assault and its aftermath. None offered help.
While Nagamani succumbed to her injuries, Rao was still alive when the assailants fled, said the Ramagundam Police. In a video shot by a passerby, Rao named one of the assailants as K Srinivas. He died on the way to hospital.
“Rao had lodged several police complaints against some local political leaders over suspicious land deals. He had warned police that if they did not take action he was prepared to file petitions in court,” said advocate Harish Chandra, a friend of the couple.
The couple had also filed a PIL seeking an investigation into the alleged custodial death of Sheelam Rangaiah, a “poacher” who was found hanging in Manthani Police Station on May 26 last year after being detained. After filing the PIL, the couple had alleged harassment from police and sought protection from the High Court.
The High Court directed the Telangana DGP to ensure that the couple was not harassed by police or called to any police station. It said that neither of them should be arrested by police on any charge so long as the matter was sub-judice. The court also directed the Hyderabad Police Commissioner to investigate the death of Rangaiah.
A week ago, Rao had taken a minor to the State Human Rights Commission after she was allegedly raped by her uncle. The lawyer had alleged that the police were not investigating her case seriously.
The Telangana High Court Advocates Association condemned the killing. “THCAA with one voice consensually condemn and reprimand the brutal murder of advocates Vaman Rao and Nagamani and herewith demand to arrest the miscreants/culprits forthwith and prosecute without any delay.”
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