Shimla Gangrape: City in shock, police still clueless
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.
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.
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)
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.
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.
He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.
He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.
He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.
“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.
He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.
Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.
It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.
The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic
“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.
“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.
The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.
India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions
Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.
The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.
The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.
In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.
In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.
The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.
Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.
Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.
Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.
An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.
HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.
The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
HP State Toll Policy 2022-23
The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.