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Shimla Gangrape: City in shock, police still clueless

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sketch of shimla gangrape accused

protest against shimla police 2

Recent incident of gangrape in Shimla has posed a big question mark on the safety of females in once safe and peaceful capital city. The police is clueless even after four days, annoyed HPU SCA and students staged a protest against the Shimla police outside the Boileauganj Police Station, While Shimla MC leaves Summerhill roads in pitch black darkness, unsafe without street lighting.

SHIMLA- Last Friday, on May 17 , a minor girl student was raped by two unidentified men somewhere at Summerhill’s jungle near 103 railway tunnel in Shimla. Four days passed after the registration of the case, but still Shimla cops are struggling to get any clue regarding the identity of these men. The victim could recall the face of one of the two men and a sketch was prepared based on the description she gave. The sketch was circulated by the Shimla Police with a request to the public to help tracing the culprits.

sketch of shimla gangrape accused
On Monday, HPU students had gathered outside Boileauganj Police Station and protested against the inability of police department to get any clue of the accused men even after four days.

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The students alleged that the police action is much quicker when it’s about student protest at HPU, and that excess of policemen and Rapid Action Force is deployed on VC’s single call, but when it comes to the safety of females in the city, the cops are clueless and non-serious in investigating the case. The students also alleged Shimla Police for not considering their earlier complaints regarding eve-teasing and some incidents where girl students were either chased by miscreants or harassed in one way or other. The students also stated that a verbal request was already passed to the SP.

shimla jungle gangrape case

In Shimla, there is a rise in the cases of crime against women. But, this case raises a big question on the safety of females in once safe and peaceful capital city. In the present case, the victim had come to collect a B.A.LL.B prospectus at School of Legal Studies Avalodge campus. A male friend accompanied her on the way back from the institute when two men approached them, told them that the police has raided the place, and that they should not be there. The men offered them a safe place and made them to run towards the jungle. The male friend disappeared in-between as he ran hastily to escape. The girl was left alone and raped by these two unidentified men. The girl called the parents, who later registered a FIR regarding this shocking crime.

Click Here to See Condition of Street Lightning on Boileauganj- Summerhill Road( Posted by a HW reader)

street-lights-in-shimla

This case appears to be pre-planned, where the victim was identified and separated from the male friend using a false alarm of a police raid. The Shimla Police SP, Abhishek Dulllar, stressed that it could be some gang who might had executed same crime earlier either by blackmailing or tricking the couples at isolated lovers points near HP University. It’s a real bad news for Shimla. The incidents of crime against women seem to have entered Himachal like a trend after many brutal incidents of gangrape in metropolitan cities like that of horrific Delhi Nirbhaya and Mumbai Shaktimill gangrape cases.

On the other hand, we wonder why a police raid was perceived as a such a threat by the victim and her friend when they weren’t involved in any such activity which could has become a subject to police concern. Whatever are the faults or flaws in the police department like everywhere else in India, but we are sure that Shimla Police is far more helpful and co-operative as compared to the cops in other parts of India.

When HW talked to the ASP(provisional), Shalini Agnihotri at Boileauganj Police Station asking for a response to the student protest. The ASP claimed that every possible effort is being made to trace the alleged men. She further added that the unavailability of any clue regarding the identification of the men involved in the crime is making it very difficult to reach the culprits. Only a sketch could be prepared based on the victim’s description. Regarding the justifiability of the student protest, the officer resisted the unnecessary activity. The ASP further added, “The deployment of police force at HPU campus is more a public matter, whereas, in the present case, the nature of crime is all together different.

The investigation in a rape case requires concealment of some information as a part of standard investigation procedure. The officer request HW to share the sketch of one of the accused and to request public to report in case they suspect any individual.

Before, we could access the ASP, another lower rank cop responded to the protest in the following words, “Ab hum kya kar sakte hain jab koi solid sabot ya information nai mil rahe hai, in university ke students ko to koi aur kaam hai nai, gharwalon ke paise ki roti todte hain aur nare lagate rahte hain”. He can’t be blamed for the perception he holds like most of the Govt. employees in their 50’s.

That shows the public has little respect for the efforts of HPU SCA and students to protest against the lowering standards of education at HPU due to administrative corruption, political interferences, and denial of basic facilities to the students at HPU campus. We all know corruption is haunting every Govt. department or institutes. The list of genuine demands and corrupt activities at HPU is a very long one. If possible, visit the varsity campus, and pay attention to the issues that these students raise.

So, we would request the people to consider the positive aspects related to the presence of student organizations at higher educational institutes.

On a very serious note, Shimla MC, the Summerhill ward councilor, the Mayor Sanjay Chauhan and the Deputy Mayor Tikender Panwar failed to provide any street lights on the Summerhill roads. The situation in other parts of Shimla is no better. All the roads towards Summerhill pass through dense forests. After it gets dark, the activity on roads reduces and the pitch black darkness makes it one of the most insecure areas.

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Himachal: Daily New COVID-19 Cases Crosses 1000 Mark, State Govt Directs Admins & Police to Show Strictness in Implementing SOPs

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Himachal Pradesh daily COVID-19 update april 12

Shimla– Reeling under the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Himachal Pradesh continues to report a huge surge in daily new cases and fatalities. On Monday, the state recorded 1089 cases – the highest in 24 hours this year. Nine more people succumbed to the infection, taking the COVID-19 death tally to 1111. Highest three deaths were reported from Una district, followed by Mandi (3).  View more details on fatalities below:

covid-19 deaths

Kangra district reported the highest 249 cases, followed by Solan (166), and Lahaul-Spiti (114). Find more district-wise details below:

himachal pradesh covid-19 surge

Source: HP NHM

Today’s cases also include former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh, who tested positive. Earlier, his son Vikramaditya had also tested positive for COVID-19. Pertinent to mention that Vikramaditya Singh had campaigned in the Municipal Corporation elections that were concluded on April 7. 

Further, 18 cases were reported from Pine Grove School, Solan. 

The state government, which had been mostly showing a casual approach towards the surge since the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic, is now coming hard on it in its review meetings.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is now asking elected representatives of the local bodies to ensure that the people strictly follow the SoPs regarding temples and marriages.  The PRI members are being directed to motivate and advise the old people, those with co-morbidity to avoid going to public places as they are most prone to this virus.

“Such persons must be reverse quarantined meaning that their movement outside their houses should be minimized to the extent possible,” Chief Minister today said.

Yesterday the state government had made it mandatory for people arriving from seven high load states to carry RT-PCR negative report. The decision would apply from April 16 onwards, the government had decided.  However, he had added, that the state would remain open for tourists.

Chief Minister has asked the representatives of the PRI to keep an eye on the people visiting from other State, particularly from the high load states.

“As far as possible such people must be asked to remain in home quarantine for 10 to 14 days and getting themselves tested for COVID-19 and should not mix with the general public of the area,” he said.

The Transport Department was directed to ensure the sanitization of buses and other public transport.  Shopkeepers were told to strictly follow the ‘No Mask, No Service’ policy. Private bus operators were also asked to properly sanitize their buses and also ensure plying buses without overcrowding.

District administrations were asked to ensure that social functions such as marriages etc. strictly follow the maximum limit prescribed for such events.

Chief Minister said that action if required could be taken against the violators.

The District administration of Kullu district was directed to ensure that all the tourists visiting the district strictly follow SoPs issued from time to time. He told the administration that all the guidelines need to be followed and implemented strictly.

He said that the Ayurveda Department must also provide ‘kada’ to the patients under home isolation. The Police Department was directed to ensure that no casualness be adopted by the tourists, particularly in tourist spots such as Manikaran, Kasol, Manali etc.    

Deputy Commissioner Mandi Rugved Thakur, informed that 1,33,878 total sample done in the district, active cases were 443 and positivity ratio was 8.25 percent and fatality rate 1.2 percent. He said that 51 per cent cases in the district were from urban areas.

 

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HP Govt Makes RT-PCR Negative Report Mandatory for People Arriving from Seven States

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entry of tourists in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Tourist movement to Himachal Pradesh is likely to get hit during the peak season as the state government has made it mandatory for people of seven high load states viz. Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh need to carry 72-hour prior RT-PCR negative report while visiting the State. The restriction would apply after April 16th.

The decision came after Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who had been insisting that there would be no restriction on tourist movement to avert economic losses to the tourism industry, held a review meeting amid a massive surge in new cases and deaths.  

The state government has decided to allow tourists to visit the State, but at the same time, hotel owners and tourists should strictly adhere to the SoPs, Chief Minister said.

“The virus was spreading at a fast pace which was the biggest concern. During the last 45 days, the State has reported 10,690 new covid cases. 120 deaths were reported in the State during the last 45 days,” he said.

Over 900 new cases with 12 fatalities were reported on Saturday only.  On Sunday, according to the Health Department’s daily update, the state recorded 512 new cases. 

Pertinent to mention that Maharastra, Delhi and a few other states had been suggesting that a complete lockdown could be imposed if the high rate of resurgence continued in the coming days.

Though the Chief Minister had been maintaining that lockdown would be the last resort, the tone appears to be changing with the worsening of the COVID-19 situation.

Further, laying stress on twin strategy for testing, tracing and treatment with effective surveillance of micro containment zones, Chief Minister said that greater emphasis must also be laid on RT-PCR tests to achieve the target of 70 percent RT-PCR tests.

He said that the State Health Department must also take steps to increase bed capacity to meet out any eventuality.

Meanwhile, no restriction has been put on the devotees visiting various temples in the State during the Navratri festival.

The government said no overcrowding would be allowed in buses and other public transport and private vehicles. Wearing face masks even in vehicles must be enforced strictly.

Chief Minister, who faced widespread criticism over violation of SOPs during the political campaigning for elections to the Municipal Corporations, blamed laxity shown by the people for a sharp resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the State.  

 

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Himachal Pradesh: 662 New Cases & 7 Deaths in 24 Hours, Over 4500 Cases & 55 Deaths in 9 Nine Days

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 report

Shimla– The number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in Himachal Pradesh was reported to be 662 and seven respectively on Friday till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest 165 new cases and four fatalities, while Sirmaur, Shimla, and Mandi recorded one fatality each.

View details of COVID-19 deaths below:

Daily covid 19 deaths

Source: HP NHM

Solan followed Kangra district with 132 new cases.

Find district-wise details of new cases below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

Source: HP NHM

The COVID-19 case and death tallies have now reached 68173 and 1090 respectively. In April, the state has recorded a huge surge in cases. In the nine days of this month, the state has recorded 4568 new cases and 55 COVID-19 deaths – a rate of more than six deaths per day.

The state government today reviewed the situation in its Cabinet meeting and expressed concern. However, no restrictive measures were taken except extending the closure of all educational institutes till April 21.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort.

Further, the state government today said that to make vaccination people’s movement, 11th to 14th April may be celebrated as ‘Teeka Utsav’.

The government said that the biggest matter of concern was that the virus was spreading at a fast pace. In addition to this, the number of death has also increased rapidly. All the districts have been advised to enhance their capacity be it bed capacity, quarantine capacity and medical equipment capacity etc.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that strict action must also be taken against those involved in gross violation of SOPs. He said that the hoteliers must also strictly follow the SOPs so that the State Government may not be forced to take action. He said that laxity shown by the people has resulted in sharp resurgence of Covid cases in the State.

It’s pertinent to mention that during the campaigning for the elections to Municipal Corporations, all parties and their leaders including the Chief Minister violated all SOPs without attracting any action. The parties also faced criticism for ignoring public health for the sake of political interests, thus, setting wrong examples for the public.  

Feature Image: Pexels@polina-tankilevitch

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