Indian police shot dead four men on Friday who were suspected of raping and killing a vet in the southern city of Hyderabad last week, a local police official told Reuters.

The men had been in police custody.

The men were shot at around 3:30 a.m. (2200 GMT Thursday) near the scene of the crime, the official said.

Earlier, BBC Telugu quoted police as saying the men were shot after they tried to attack officers at the scene of the crime, where they had been taken.

During the past week, thousands of Indians have protested in several cities following the alleged rape and murder of the 27-year-old vet near the southern city of Hyderabad.

Protesters and parliamentarians are pressing for courts to fast-track rape cases and demanding tougher penalties.