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Yug Murder Case: Possible torture to death, drowned alive, suggests initial investigation, protest erupts in Shimla

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SHIMLA- Horrific case of abduction and cold blooded murder of 4-years-old Yug Gupta in Shimla has sent a wave of shock across Himachal Pradesh – one of the most peaceful places in India. The family including two sisters aged 8 and 10 is broke.

yug-murder-protest

Protest has erupted in the city as shopkeepers kept shops closed on Tuesday and marched to meet Virbhadra Singh and HP HC Chief Justice.

Preliminary Investigation Suggest Torture to Death

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Himachal isn’t crime free; murders, robberies and sexual assaults do happen here, but such insanity was rarely heard before. As more details about the murder case are coming into light, the investigation is suggesting probable torture of the kid like beating, starving, and forcibly making him drink liquor before eventually killing him on June 21.

New Revelations

Shimla Water Tank

MC water tank in Bharari from which remains were recovered: Photo: Amar Ujala

Although, it is not confirmed, but initial investigation suggest that the boy might have been thrown alive into the Municipal Corporation’s Kelestine water tank near Bharari in Shimla.

Read More: Skeleton of missing Shimla kid recovered after 2 years from MC water tank near Bharari

The mobile locations of the arrested men showed that Yug was hidden in a flat near Ramchandra Chowk at Navbahar. Chander had rented this flat (number HIG 22).

Chander Sharma flat Shimla

Flat near Navbahar, Shimla where Yug was kept after kidnapping Photo: Amar Ujala

All Suspects Locals Including a Neighbor

All men, Tejinder Singh, Virkrant Bakshi, and Chander Sharma are locals, residents of Shimla. Chander Sharma is neighbor of Vinod Gupta, father of deceased Yug.

Four Ransom Letters

On June 27, 2014, after 14 days of abduction, the family received first ransom later demanding delivery of Rs. 3.60 crores in Ambala through hands of Vinod’s servant Hari. The letter was inserted into the Shop that Vinod owns in Ram Bazaar. The family immediately sent the servant to Ambala, but no one appeared to collect the ransom. In second letter, Rs. 4 crores were demanded, but again it was not collected by the kidnappers. In third letter, the amount of ransom was raised to 10 crores, and back to Rs. 4 crore in the fourth letter.

Master Mind

According to reports, after kidnapping Yug, Chander, who was studying law, came back to Ram Bazaar and connected to family members as sympathizer. He dedicatedly remained present with family and even police teams during search operations claiming to be a member of International Human Rights Commission. The family begun to trust him and shared all information regarding the plans for search of Yug.

Doubts on Chander surfaced in the minds of family members after he started showing excess interest in matters pertaining to wealth and assets of the family. He used to inquire regarding financial status of the family and relatives.

Later, the family brought this interest of Chander in their financial matters to the notice of CID. The lie detector test of Vinod’s servant had also hinted that Chander could have abducted Yug for ransom. Thereafter, CID increased surveillance and arrested Tejinder and Vikrant in June, but easily secured bail from court.

When CID asked them to take lie detector test, both avoided it stating health issues, which almost confirmed agency’s suspicion. Finally, on Sunday, CID arrested Vikrant from Chandigarh based on strong evidences and made him confess the crime and recovered details of location of the body of the boy. Following this information, CID on Monday exhumed body remains from the said Kelston water tank. Now, all three men have been detained.

CID also used handwriting samples of the suspects that were found identical to ransom letters. Other materials are being recovered from their laptops and cellphones.

Public Blame Shimla Police for Not Taking Interest

Another noticeable aspect is that the family had already given names of Tejinder and Vikrant to police as suspects and both of them also had criminal record against them. Both were found involved in a theft case in Shimla. However, Shimla Police couldn’t materialize such a strong lead at all. Rather, it was carrying one of the suspects with it almost all the time during investigation. Therefore, the case was transferred to the CID.

People Demand Death Penalty, Social Boycott of Families

Shimla Murder Case

Protest march by Shopkeepers of Shimla in front of HP High Court

Enraged hearing heinousness of culprits, people are demanding death penalty for them and made call for social boycott of their families. Protesters also asked lawyer community to boycott culprits, and to not take their case as defense lawyer.

Cleaning of MC Water Tanks in Papers only?

sanjay-chauhan-pankaj-rai-Commissioner-mc-shimla

Shimla MC officials including Mayor and Commissioner didn’t respond to media calls.Image:Tribune/File Photo

The High Court of Himachal Pradesh is agitated and questioning Shimla MC how it could not spot the skeleton of the boy if it really cleaned the 12 lakh litre capacity tank twice this year, in January and June. Court has questioned affidavits filed by SMC claiming cleaning and supply of drinkable water. It noticeable that this time judges colony located in the posh Kelston area were also receiving water supply from the same tank along with other VIP residences, Police Line Bharari, Bharari Bazaar, Tara Badi, Lower Bharari, and some areas of Kuftadhar.

People and some politicians have opened attack on the MC officials and has demanded action against them as well.

Taking a serious note of the issue of recovery of the skeleton from a water tank, the High Court on Tuesday sought response from the state government and directed the Investigation Officer to file detailed affidavit in this regard. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan passed this order during the hearing of a PIL on the issue of contaminated water supply in Shimla city.  Next hearing in the case is scheduled to be held on September 27.

No Locks on MC Water Tanks, No Provision for Security

No-Locks-on-MC-Water-Tanks,-No-Provision-for-Security

The case clearly tells the tale of SMC’s ignorance towards security of the water tanks. The suspects were able to open it and dump the body as there was no lock on it. It implies that anyone could contaminate the water in these tanks with anything at anytime, risking lives of public.

Shimla MC’s Clarification

After news of recovery of skeleton from SMC water tank broke out, the media tried to connect to corporation officials. However, the Commissioner Pankaj Rai, Mayor Sanjay Chauhan, Engineer etc. did not respond to phone calls. But SMC’s initial clarification said that a skeleton was found earlier during cleaning but it was thrown away as workers took it to be remains of a monkey. As stark contrast to this statement, according to CID, team recovered the remains from the tank and, not from outside the tank.

SMC engineers claimed that they had cleaned not only the Keleston tank in January and June 2016, but also 23 other tanks after the jaundice outbreak.

The tanks were emptied, then were washed by chlorinated water,

the staff claimed.

It is not clear how the skeleton was recovered, but we have sought report from the municipal engineer

, said Chauhan.

Yug Candle March Shimla

Candle march on the Ridge Shimla

The suspects are in custody and have been sent on police remand of five days. More clarity on the details isexpected as investigation continues. CID, based on the scientific evidences they have collected, claims to have a strong case against the suspects and it’s impossible for them to escape the charges. The case has not only shocked people of Himachal, but also revealed lies and eyewash by administration even in matters as sensitive as quality of drinking water.

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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Farmers Welcome SC Order to Stay Implementation of Farm Laws But Suspicious About Formation of Committee

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stay on farm laws

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of three contentious farm laws passed by the Centre Government, which has led to huge protest from hundreds of farmer groups. The stay implies that the Centre Government can’t take any executive actions based on these laws till further order. 

“The implementation of the three farm laws (1) Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; (2) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; and (3) Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, shall stand stayed until further orders,”

said the order passed by a panel headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A Bobde on Tuesday.

Further, the MSP system would continue as it was before the enactment of the laws.

“As a consequence, the Minimum Support Price System in existence before the enactment of the Farm Laws shall be maintained until further orders. In addition, the farmers’ land holdings shall be protected, i.e., no farmer shall be dispossessed or deprived of his title as a result of any action taken under the Farm Laws,”

the order said.

With this order, the SC hoped to end the ongoing impasse over the contentious farm laws.

The farmers who have been protesting for over the last 45 days, welcomed the SC’s order.

However, at the same time, the Apex Court ordered the formation of a committee to listen to both sides and make recommendations to the court. The committee, which would comprise of Agriculture economist Ashok Gulati, Bhupinder Singh Mann, Dr Prmod Kumar Joshi, former director of National Academy of Agricultural Research Management), and Anil Ghanwat from Shetkari Sangathan, was asked to submit its report in the court within two months.

The CJI, in its order, speaking about the purpose of this “extraordinary” order, said,

“While we may not stifle a peaceful protest, we think that this extraordinary order of stay of implementation of the farm laws will be perceived as an achievement of the purpose of such protest at least for the present and will encourage the farmers’ bodies to convince their members to get back to their livelihood, both in order to protect their own lives and health and in order to protect the lives and properties of others.”

Though a stay on the implementation of laws was welcomed by protesting farmers, several unions said that they would not accept this committee and the protest will continue. They said the Government is trying to form this committee through the Supreme Court. This committee, they said, included persons who have already been justifying the farm laws. They said the purpose of this committee is nothing more than creating a diversion. The protest would be armed up and only a repeal of laws would be accepted, the unions said. 

At the same time, the SC was undeterred with these statements and said there is nothing that can stop it from forming a committee. The SC asked the farmers to cooperate with the committee.

On the other hand, the Government was more concerned about that other political parties would think of the stay as a “political victory”.

Further, the Government has also expressed apprehension about security breach due to the tractor rally planned by protesting farmers on the Republic Day.

K.K. Venugopal, Attorney General, told the court that there are reports that the farmers’ bodies may take out a tractor rally on January 26, 2021, disrupting the Republic Day Parade and celebrations However, the same was stoutly denied by Dushyant Dave, learned senior counsel appearing for a few of the farmers’ bodies on the ground that at least one member of the family of each of the farmers from Punjab is in the Army and that they would not disrupt the Republic Day celebrations.

The Court, in its order, said that several rounds of talked between farmers and the Government have failed and there was no solution in sight.

“The situation on ground is: (i) that senior citizens, women and children are at site, exposing themselves to serious health hazards posed by cold and covid; (ii) that a few deaths have taken place, though not out of any violence, but either out of illness or by way of suicide,”

the order said.

The court also lauded the farmers for carrying on the agitation peacefully without any unwanted incident.

Further, the Court orders also mentioned separate petitions filed by individuals/residents of the NCR complaining of blockade of roads/highways leading to Delhi and terming it an infringement of the fundamental rights of other citizens to move freely and to carry out trade and business.

Stay on 3 Farm Laws and Formation of Committee: Read Full Order of Supreme Court

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Inflation, Increased Cost of Food Items, Ration, Crumbling Health Infrastructure, and 100 Gram Sugar: Govt’s Diwali Gift to People

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hp govt's gift on diwali 2020

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Government has collected over Rs. 86 crores in the name of the COVID-19 relief fund, but only Rs 25 crore was spent. It was stated by Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader. It’s a shocker considering negligible relief measures and the state of health infrastructure crumbling amid a pandemic. The unpreparedness of the state government to deal with community spread of coronavirus is coming to light as its COVID-19 hospitals have begun to run out of beds in isolation wards. Two major medical facilities -Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital and DDU Hospital in Shimla- are packed to their full capacity. 

What’s not shocking is that Chief Minister did hail the Prime Minister, exactly as he was told, claiming that the nation is out of COVID-19 crisis. It suggests that the Chief Minister is little aware of the surge in cases and over 400 COVID-19 deaths, of which 93 were reported during the last 12 days of November month. Yesterday, the state has reported over 700 cases with six deaths, which is alarming.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi deserves all praise for his dynamic leadership as he is successfully steering the Country amid all troubles and difficulties. He has successfully brought the Nation out of Covid-19 crisis,” 

said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, while addressing a public meeting at Sihunta under Bhatiyat Assembly Constituency on Wednesday. 

Talking about the real situation and relief measures, the state Government became a laughingstock and was being trolled on social media after it announced 100 gram sugar and 500-gram rice per person to all ration cardholders as a Diwali gift. If that was not enough, according to a media report, this quota has still not reached the depots. There is a possibility that it would reach the cardholders only after Diwali.

The reason behind this backlash is not only that 100-gram sugar is too trivial to be called a gift or relief, especially amid a pandemic when common people, especially those falling in middle and lower-income groups, are faced with unemployment and economic crisis.

While the people were hoping for relief from their elected government, inflation was on the rise. Currently, prices of food items including vegetables and other essential commodities have also witnessed a huge increase. Further, cut in subsidy on electricity, hike in bus fare, increase in property tax, rise in diesel and petrol prices etc. have put additional burden on the commoners. 

Then there were other issues like relaxation in garbage collection fee for the period of lockdown. Sadly, the public did not get any relief even in garbage bills despite staging protests. 

Meanwhile, Ministers made news for spending tax money on buying luxury vehicles and VIP numbers. 

Oppositions, Congress and CPI (M) have also targeted the government over its failure to provide any considerable relief to the people when it’s most needed. As per oppositions, the current government has no control over the market or inflation.

Chauhan also raised the issue of thousands of vacant posts of doctors, para-medical staff, nurses etc. at medical facilities across the state. He said that of the total 1000 posts of lab technicians, 700 were still vacant. He said that the government did not prepare for a community spread despite having a time of eight months during the lockdowns. It was due to this lackadaisical attitude of the government that currently IGMC and DDU hospitals have run out of space in isolation wards, he said.

He also said that, in an all-party meeting convened on March 21, CPI(M) had given the government 12 recommendations to effectively deal with the situation. The party had suggested that thousands of vacant posts should be filled at the earliest, all government buildings construction of which were completed should be prepared to accommodate COVID-19 patients. Similarly, at least four blocks of the under-construction building of IGMC should also be equipped with facilities to accommodate patients, the party had suggested. 

On November 8, 2020, the state unit of Mahila Congress staged a protest over a huge increase in prices of food items. They wore garlands of potatoes and onions and marched from the party headquarter to the Office of Deputy Commissioner, Shimla. Women alleged that the people have received no relief despite such a huge crisis. Instead, the current government is encouraging hoarding of essentials.

The opposition also said that the government has increased the rate of cereals provided through the public distribution system. This increase is Rs 5 for cereals and Rs. 9 for mustard oil. Vegetable prices have gone beyond Rs 50 during the festival season. It also said that the registration fees of vehicles have also been increased.

Sanjay Chauhan is of the view that to provide relief, the government should deposit at least Rs 7500 in the accounts of consumers and provide them with 10 kg ration per person for free.

He also said that recently the government has hiked the charges for electricity and installation of meters. The government has now withdrawn its notification restricting schools to charge only tuition fee and allowed them to charge full fees, including those pending for the period of lockdown, he said. This decision has come as a huge financial burden for parents and is causing mental harassment. 

The policies of the current government are only benefiting corporates, while other sections like labourers/daily wagers, small scale industries and businesses, shopkeepers, farmers are faced with financial crisis and unemployment due to lockdowns imposed in view of corona pandemic, Chauhan said. 

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Exam Fees in Govt Schools Hiked Amid Pandemic, Private Schools Allowed to Charge Full Fees Relaxed During Lockdowns

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himachal pradesh - private school fees during lockdowns

Shimla-Amid the pandemic and economic slowdown, the public had hoped for relief from the government; unfortunately, they are only receiving more financial burdens in form of hikes in bus fares, cut in electricity subsidy etc. Now, the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education (HPBOSE) has decided to implement hike in examination fees on the students of government schools.

A student of class 10 will now pay Rs 600 as examination fee instead of the previous Rs 500. For the students of class 12, this fee has been hiked to Rs 850. Read complete notification below:

Another bad news for parents came after the government, citing orders of the State High Court, allowed private schools to charge all fees which were deferred during the lockdowns. Moreover, in its previous notification, the Directorate of Higher Education had only mentioned deferring the fee, and not waiving it of. This decision has led to distress among parents because pending fees of some of the schools would go in lakhs.

Also Read: Himachal: Private Schools Only Asked to Defer Fees During Lockdown, Not to Waive Off, Thanks to Helpless Edu Minister

Private schools are not funded by the government and they depend entirely on fees to meet their expenditures, the government said.  The state government had directed the schools to not cut salaries of teachers or fire them during lockdowns. However, despite the pandemic, the state government did not consider compensating these institutes. Similarly, bus fares were also hiked instead of compensating transporters.

Earlier, the state government had yielded to the pressure from parents to relax all fees except tuition fees as the educational institutes were closed and no facilities were availed by the students.

Further, it’s pertinent to mention that the Ministers of the state government are making headlines for allegedly wasting money on buying luxuries with the public tax money. Recently, Education Minister Govind Singh Thakur remained in news for buying a luxury vehicle amid pandemic even though he already had a Fortuner. Prior to that, the IPH Department has been in news for buying not only an SUV for a XEN but also purchasing a VIP number for Rs. 1 lakh.

At the same time, huge wastage of money was seen during the commissioning of the Rohtang Tunnel on publicity to claim the credit. Large hoardings with the faces of CM Jairam Thakur and PM Narender Modi can still be seen throughout the state publicizing commissioning of the Tunnel. Money was spent on installing LEDs across the state to live telecast the event. There is distress among the people over the debate that, amid pandemic, this money could have been used to provide the public with some relief, but instead, the government seems to be insensitive enough to put personal interest first.

Earlier, the government had hiked vehicle registration fee and cut electricity subsidy to generate resources. The vehicle registration fee was increased to 7-10% of the existing 2.5-4% in June.

Feature Photo: [email protected]

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