ON FRIDAY, as police in Hyderabad said that four people have been arrested in the sexual assault and murder of a 27-year-old veterinary doctor, animal health workers at a government facility 60 km away were struggling to cope with their loss.
“I remember the day she joined duty on January 23, 2017, the first veterinary doctor in this hospital in 10 years. She was so cheerful and pleasant. How can such a horrible thing happen to such a fine human being?” asked Saiyed Sarvar, an assistant at the veterinary hospital in Mahbubnagar district.
Rattled by the murder near a toll plaza on the outskirts of Hyderabad Wednesday night, the attendants and helpers recalled the Assistant Veterinary Surgeon’s arduous daily commute to reach the hospital “every day, 10 am”.
“After changing two buses, she used to endure a back-breaking ride in a shared autorickshaw to reach the hospital. But she was always punctual and rarely absent,” said Sarvar.
According to staff, the doctor used to park her two-wheeler at Shamshabad bus stop near the toll plaza and take a bus to Shadnagar in Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district. From there, they said, she would another bus to Kondurug and board a “share auto” to reach the local bus stand.
“One of us would pick her up from the stand and bring her to the hospital, and take her back at 4.30 pm every day. On Wednesday afternoon, I saw her leaving,” said Sarvar.
According to police, the accused abducted her in their truck after one of them punctured the rear tyre of her two-wheeler at the toll plaza, and sexually assaulted and killed her.
Residents at the village where the veterinary hospital is located described her as “a very dedicated worker”. There are about 5,000 livestock in the village, and “she always ensured enough stock of medicines and injections”, they said.
“She played a key role in selecting and distributing sheep under a Telangana government scheme. She was chosen to go to Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh to examine and purchase the sheep. She was a honest and hardworking woman,” said Venkatiah Yadav, a village resident.
The sarpanch Raghav Guptha said she was “well liked by cattle owners because whenever they brought a sick animal, she would patiently explain what was wrong and what treatment she would provide”.
“She would always say, ‘If you have any concern, come again tomorrow, I will be here at 10 am’,” he said.