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Bullying (female) Shimla cop allegedly threatens youth with fake cases for objecting to her misconduct

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SHIMLA-Maintenance of law and order can only be attained when both law enforcement agency and public co-operate with each other and share a friendly relationship. The police officers, who abuse citizens, erode public confidence in law and government. It only makes the job of honest and well mannered police officers harder. Entire police department shares the credit when they perform well. Likewise, one unmannered and misguided cop is enough to bring embarrassment to entire institute.

Himachal Watcher had published a compilation of videos and reports showing how work culture of Shimla Police is going through eerie transformation since the joining of Mr. DW Negi as Superintendent Police. The SP as well as a particular section of police staff, following the footsteps of their leader, have undertaken task to assist judiciary by being both law enforcement agency as well as judiciary.

Also Read:
Shimla Police SHO alleged of beating and abusing informer, locals approach higher officials seeking action

They set up Kangroo courts of their own in public places. However, this dual role, that of an unqualified judge and insensitive policeman, has led to a form of unnecessary mental and physical harassment to public.

Watch: ‘Shimla Police Nuisance’ on rise: Drunk, bullying, abusive cops becoming common sight

So far, male staff including HPS officials had demonstrated misuse of the power vested in their uniform, and were even spotted drunk, creating nuisance. But now, as per the account given by a Shimla youth, some female cops have also joined the bandwagon and adequately complement the current trend in police in the capital. The particular female cop to whom we have referred in this case is allegedly a serial offender. Different sources have recalled similar treatment on encounter with this lady. From bullying drivers to drop her home to setting kangaroo courts, there have been many instance of similar misconduct from this cop.

Before dwelling over account given by the youth, Himachal Watcher again emphasize that we acknowledge the fact that not all police officials are unworthy of wearing uniform. The job of police is one of the most challenging, psychologically stressful and physically hectic and we are grateful for their services.

Previous Story: Now, that’s more like Shimla Police, our police (Before DW Negi took charge as SP Shimla)

There are honest and dedicated policemen who discharge their duty within defined legal, moral, and ethical limits. Here, the motive is not to defame the Himachal Pradesh Police Department. The motive is to highlight the “bad fish” that are bringing bad name to Himachal Pradesh Police Department.

Previous Story: This dedicated Shimla Traffic cop deserves a round of applause (Video)

In capital Shimla, this misguided section of police staff is enjoying liberty from obligations to their duties, respect to law while discharging their duties, and discipline has become a mockery for them. These “bad fish” mostly include those recruited on approach, by cheating in exam, or paying heavy bribes despite being unworthy.

Also Read: Unaware of rules, Shimla Police harassing cyclists instead of promoting cycling culture

Before you read the narration of police conduct while dealing with a youth, who recalled it as a wound to his and his father’s dignity and self-esteem as citizens of the state, do read guidelines and rules laid down for police staff while discharging their lawful duty under the Himachal Pradesh Police Service Act 2006, Police Act 1861 (including amendments), and most important, the directions of the Supreme Court. In India, the conflict between Human Rights Commission and police is the result of manipulation and misuse of powers provided to police.

Rule of Law Must Prevail

According to contents of these Acts and SC directions, no one is above law, not even police or judges themselves. Rule of law and justice must prevail in democracy to maintain healthy social environment and equality to all citizens. It is the court who is authorized by law to undertake the job of establishing guilt of an accused and, if found guilty in fair trial, sentencing the offender to a penalty or other punishments prescribed under Constitution of India. In simple words, even the judges can’t arbitrarily decide punishment. Rather, they are, too, bound to adhere to what is prescribed in law for a particular offence.

The directions from SC further emphasize that in securing the observance of law or in maintaining order, the police should, as far practicable, use the methods of persuasion, advice, and warming.

Further, according to Supreme Court’s guidelines to the entire institution of police in India, police should always be courteous and well-mannered. They should be dependable and impartial. They should possess dignity and courage and should cultivate character and the trust of the people.

In matters of use of physical force, the directions say that, when, the application of force becomes inevitable, only the irreducible minimum amount of force required under the circumstance should be used.

Limitation on Powers of Police

Police is directed to discharge its duty strictly in the way the law lays down and not any other way. They cannot act just as they wish or want to. Any abuse of power or negligence of duty will amount to a breach of discipline, civil wrong or a crime and the officer is liable to be punished.

In fact, because police officer is a person entrusted with upholding the law he/she should be punished more severely for breaking it, says SC directions and the Police Service Act.

The Complaint

A Shimla youth approached Himachal Watcher and told his alleged horrific experience during an encounter with a female cop accompanied by two other cops. The youth was left bewildered witnessing live demonstration that female police staff has far more power to victimize people to defend their ego. And this is because she is a female and threats like fake case of misbehavior is quite effective in deterring will of people who dare to object to their mistreatment or demand due respect for their constitutional rights.

As per the youth, who is (indeed) an educated and aware citizen, out of habit, used “English Words” while raising objections against police misconduct. But, the cop counted it as her insult and declared it punishable under rules of her own. She denied providing information to the complainant when he asked her to show her nameplate.

Faced with educated people who are aware of their rights and limits of police powers are headache for miscreant cops. From the allegation, it appears that this female cop serving in Shimla Police do not hesitate to create scenes on one of the most hateful themes – misbehavior with a female by a male in a male-dominated society. It’s a crucial matter and superior officials of the HP Police Department must take note of it.

As alleged by the youth, who is resident of Shimla, on Thursday afternoon at around 2:00 ‘O’clock he drove his car to the Secretariat at Chotta Shimla. While waiting for his father’s return from the Secretariat, he parked his car on roadside near Vishal Mega Mart. He was sitting in the car, waiting for his father’s return when three female cops arrived and smashed challan book on his bonnet, he alleged. The youth, as everyone usually does, appealed them not to challan as he was ready to move the vehicle. He also pleaded that he is a local and was aware as well as careful about not creating obstruction to traffic.

The response from one of the cops, in exact words, was reported by youth to be following:

“Kya Matlab hai local Ka! Local ho to kuch bhi karoge?”

(क्या मतलब है लोकल का! लोकल हो तो कुछ भी करोगे?)

The youth further pleaded that he was present in the car keeping in mind the traffic trouble Shimla faces. The youth (sadly) talked about his right to at least one warning before initiating official action or issue challan. The reply from cops, as per the yout, was

“Tu law sikhayega merko? Tu hai kon?”

(तू लॉ सिखायेगा मेरको? तू है कौन?)

Second cop added, “SHO Sahab aane wale hain tun yahi reh, Tujhe wo khud batayenge!”

(साहब आने वाले हैं तूं यही रह, तुझे वो खुद बताएँगे)

To avoid all such trouble, “I immediately started my car and tried to move it,” said the youth. “She put her hands on my car keys and attempted to snatch them from me,” he further alleged.

When the youth objected to it and said that they can challan him but cannot snatch the car key in such rude manner, the cop said “Isko ander karo. SHO aur SP sahab ko phone karo.”

(इसको तो अंदर करो! एसपी साहब को फ़ोन करो!)

One of the cops called the SHO, who advised him to be silent and to not argue with (female) cops. The SHO Mr. Negi was polite and suggested me, “Is constable ke sath behas na karo! Aap museebat me pad jaoge”

(इस कांस्टेबल के साथ बहस न करो! आप मुसीबत में पड़ जाओगे)

Meanwhile, my father arrived at the scene and requested them to not complicate the matter. However, the female cop did not stop.

“Battameez saala! Thappad maarungi tujhe (बत्तमीज़ साला! थप्पड़ मारूँगी तुझे)),” she continued in a highly uncivilized language, alleged the youth.

The youth objected, “Ma’am, I am not a murderer or a thief that you are talking to me like this. Her language further degenerated.  “Saale tu to shakal se he gunda lag rha hai (साले तू तो शक्ल से ही गुंडा लग रहा है),”she started shouting publically.

When the youth objected to defamatory comments and warned the cops that he would file a complaint to superiors regarding such misbehavior and mistreatment while on duty, she said,

“Ander karo isko ! Thaane le chalo! Gaadi ko clamp karke thaane le chalo ! Isko aaj sabak sikhate hain!” (अंदर करो इसको ! थाने ले चलो! गाडी को क्लैंप करके थाने ले चलो ! इसको आज सबक सिखाते हैं)

“Ye angrejji kisi or ko mariyo jo dar jaaye tujhse ! Merko ni sunani!”, she kept shouting. (ये अंग्रेजी किसी और को मारियो जो डर जाए तुझसे! मेरको नी सुनानी)

When the youth asked the cop to show her name plate as he wanted to file a complaint name, the cops said, “Kya karega naam se tu? Nahi batati kar le jo karna”! ( क्या करेगा नाम से तू? नहीं बताती कर ले जो करना)

The father of the youth consistently requested to them to stop bullying and making false allegation. He told him to take move the car on which the youth drove the car towards Navbahar, said the youth.

“After 15 minutes, when I was on my way back towards Chotta Shimla, the cops started shouting something as the car passed by. I stopped the car so that I could hear them clearly,” the youth further told.

The youth decided to stop at the Chota Shimla Police Station to complaint regarding the mental harassment to which he was exposed by female cops.

The SHO Mr.Negi paid attention to his complaint and offered to to him and his father. However, he again adviced him, “Apko nahi behesna chahiye! Ye jo bhi bol rahe hain chup chap sunte or nikal jaate!” (आपको नहीं बहसना चाहिए! ये जो भी बोल रहे हैं चुप चाप सुनते और निकल जाते!)

“Agar ye apki kuch galat report kar dete being ladies to ap kya kar loge. Lady bolde k mere kapde faad diye to samjho aap to samjho aap fans gaye,” the SHO said with concern. (अगर ये आपकी कुछ गलत रिपोर्ट कर देते बीइंग लेडीज तो आप क्या कर लोगे! लेडी बोल दे क मेरे कपड़े फाड़ दिए तो समझो आप तो समझो आप फंस गए!)

The youth pleaded that he is a responsible citizen and there is no history of involvement in any sort of anti-social activities or crimes and that he doesn’t deserve such treatment from police.

Meanwhile, the three cops entered the police station and created hue and cry and made false allegations of misbehavior along with other serious allegations.

When the youth objected and tried to defend himself, the female cop threatened, “Ek Thappad marungi tujhe… (एक थप्पड़ मारूँगी तुझे)

To the SHO, she boasted, “Maine to maar bhi dena tha ! Ye to in dono ne mujhe rok liya nai to main nai darti kisi se” (मैंने तो मार भी देना था ! ये तो इन दोनों ने मुझे रोक लिया नै तो मैं नै डरती किसी से)

“Eventually, I was left with no alternate but to apologize to the cops. I confess it was the most fake apology I ever made in my entire life. My conscience didn’t allow me to speak the words of apology, but watching my father getting distressed, I did it,” the youth said.

While, we mere report the narrative provided by the complainant, there is no doubt about it that some miscreants in uniform have earned bad name for Shimla Police as well as for HP Police Department.

Lack of worthy leadership is leading to degrading and despicable practices in police functioning, which are condemnable in strongest terms. Police is supposed to discharge their duty without fear or favour, malice or vindictiveness. The cops are supposed to make citizens feel safer. The police must not resort to mistreatment and bullying. When a citizen, irrespective of his economic or social status, raises objections or reminds cops of his/her rights as citizen of a democratic state, the police must not count is as their insult. Police must maintain respect for individual dignity of every citizen unless and until the situation doesn’t require impolite, harsh measure. We also urge the people to co-operate the police in maintain law and order in the society.

A copy of this complaint will be forwarded to the superior officials of the HP Police department to take note of “bad fish” threatening police’s reputation and trust in people.

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 Pradesh: A Report on ‘Plight of Migrant Workers’ during the Lockdown & Need for Protection of their Rights

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Himachal pradesh - a report on migrant labourers during lockdown

Shimla-Poor people like migrant labourers and workers are nothing more than insects for the governments in India. The attitude of the government and its treatment of the poor workers, who had migrated to other states in search of livelihood, during the lockdown is a very clear evidence of it. What is more pathetic is the fact that that their plight remained invisible to the remaining public as mainstreamed media was being paid more by their political masters for diverting public attention from real issues to rubbish, spicy news. Our society is rotten to such an extent that public also preferred the rubbish served by the media over the bitter truth. Except for a small section of people including social activists, volunteers and non-profit-organizations actually worked to provide some relief like ration to the poor. Spare some time to go through a report on the plight of the migrant workers prepared by the Himachal Pradesh Workers Solidarity (HPWS) – a voluntary solidarity platform.

The first day of Lok Sabha’s monsoon session earlier this week saw MPs raising questions about the condition of Migrant Workers during the lockdown. The response of the Labour Minister that no data on migrant deaths for the period was available has drawn much flak. Additionally, no data on return of migrant workers was available for many states including Himachal Pradesh.

The issue of invisibilisation of migrant workers in a state like Himachal Pradesh has now been raised in a report, highlighting the impacts of the ongoing crisis on this community which contributes significantly to the state economy. Himachal Pradesh Workers Solidarity (HPWS) – a voluntary solidarity platform formed in April 2020, in its report, describes the havoc that a sudden, un- facilitated and unplanned national lockdown announced in response to the COVID19 pandemic six months ago had on the interstate migrant workers stranded in Himachal. HPWS ran a helpline during the period, provided assistance in accessing ration and other relief, travel to home states, through administrative coordination, registrations, and information dissemination etc.

Himachal, in the context of migration, is different from neighbouring Uttarakhand, where the rate of migration out of state is higher, whereas in Himachal the rate of in-migration is slightly higher than out-migration.

Gagandeep, a journalist based in Karsog and part of HPWS, elaborates,

“Post the decade of 1980 -90, expansion of industrial activities in the Shivalik hill region, multi-level infrastructure and development projects, growing local interests in horticulture, and cash crop farming alongside tourism-dependent economy made Himachal an emerging centre for in-migration.”

Today, workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Nepal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Kashmir constitute a large chunk of the migrant population in Himachal. Most of them are from Scheduled Caste, OBC, STs and minority communities. Difficult work areas and geography, insecure and unsafe living conditions, along with payment and other labour law violations, makes the situation even more difficult for them in mountain state like Himachal.

While the 2011 Census suggests that Himachal had approximately 3.10 lakhs migrant workers, this figure seems to be severely under-estimated due to lack of registration (under the Inter-State Workmen Act 1979), non-maintenance of data by State Labour Department and non-publication of all statistics of Census. The lack of data further worsened the pandemic crisis and impacted relief facilitation.

In response to the issues, the focus of the State was limited to distributing ration but ration alone was not enough for survival and sustenance. Ritika Thakur, another member of HPWS elaborates,

“Having some cash in hand was an urgent need to access gas cylinders, milk, medicines and other essential things like phone recharge, so that workers can at least call for support. Most of the people who contacted HPWS”, she adds, “had not been paid their wages and their savings had died out in payment of room rents and ration as loans and debts kept on piling up.”

Many migrant labourers complained about the interrogatory, apathetic and discriminatory attitude of the officials when they were called for ration support. Seeing no transport facility forthcoming, many workers were forced to walk back home on foot. When caught at borders they were put into quarantine centres forced to return or were left with no choice but to escape on foot.

“The online registration mechanism was completely inaccessible for workers and for weeks there was no response to registrations”,

according to Sukhdev Vishwapremi, a social activist and member of HPWS.

The first ‘shramik train’ ran as late as May 22, 2020.

“The government, meanwhile, allowed private bus operators to run on exorbitant prices,”

he adds.

Many workers were pushed to take loans or sell property/artefacts to be able to return home through these buses while 5000 HRTC buses remained standing in bus stands.

“The fact that the Central government shifted the burden of facilitating transport on the states without any significant co-ordination and clarity made matters worse, aided by lack of coordination and communication between nodal officers, both between Himachal and other states and within Himachal”,

Vishwapremi emphasized further.

According to the information shared by an officer from Himachal Pradesh Government (SDMA), 94,819 migrants had gone out from Himachal to various states of the country by June 23, 2020. As per the information received from SDMA under RTI, 14 shramik trains ferried around 13,183 people out of the state.

Himshi Singh from HPWS reminds, “more than 80% of the migrants took the road on their own expense in which the government merely provided e-passes for private transportation, and the number of people who walked on foot is not yet known.”

Adding further she remarks,

“It’s tragic that in the midst of this crisis, FIRs were registered against reporters who did stories on migrant worker’s condition and on the other hand no action was taken against fake news or media who communalised the issue leading to violence on minority communities like the migrant workers from Kashmir”.

The report highlights how Himachal was one of the 12 states who made major dilutions in labour laws in favour of companies and ‘ease of doing business’.

Almost five months have passed living with this epidemic and even as the success and failure of the lockdown are debated- the economy is falling in doldrums and our governments seem inconsistent and directionless. As per the estimate by ILO, 400 million informal workers in India will fall to critical levels of poverty than ever before- a situation that demands urgent cognizance, state accountability and a responsible approach.

In this regard, HPWS in this report has made the following recommendations for the State:

  1. Release in the public domain all the information about relief/support provided to migrant workers
  2. A joint task force be set to bring out a comprehensive report on the conditions and needs of migrant labourers in the state within 6 months
  3. Provide universal Access to Ration, Economic and other Relief Facilities
  4. Housing facilities for Migrant workers who have been living in Himachal and hostel facilities for seasonal labour
  5. Housing facilities for Migrant workers who have been living in Himachal and hostel facilities for  seasonal labour
  6. Compliance of SC/HC orders-setting up helpdesk/grievance redressal centres at Panchayat, Block, Tehsil  and District levels and conducting employment and skill-based survey of the migrant workers who have returned from other states
  7. Dilution in labour laws be withdrawn and all changes scrapped and strengthening the time-bound  ‘Grievance Redressal’ system and Labour Courts Mandate the registration of all migrant labourers working in the state under ISWMA 1979

HPWS will be submitting the report to various state and central agencies for further advocacy and hopes that the HP Government will take adequate measures to protect the interests of the migrant worker communities in the state.

Read Complete Report

Feature Photo: Sumit Mahar, Volunteer HPWS

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Amid Surge in COVID-19 Cases in Himachal, Speculation of Complete Lockdown Gains Momentum

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Himachal Pradesh Lockdown from August 1st speculations

Shimla-The number of COVID-19 cases is rising at an alarming rate in Himachal Pradesh as for the past five consecutive days, the state had been reporting nearly 100 cases per day. With Monday’s 95 new cases, the tally  for the state jumped to 2270. The number of active cases has crossed the 1000 mark to reach 1025 on Monday. So far, 1216 patients have recovered while 12 of them succumbed to COVID-19 infection.

Among Monday’s cases, Sirmaur district reported the highest 31 cases from Govindgarh (mohalla) locality in Nahan. Complete lockdown of two days was imposed in this area but the spurt in cases continues. Fifteen new cases were reported from Baddi and Parwanoo in Solan district while remaining cases were reported from Bilaspur (11), Mandi (10), Kangra (16), Shimla (5), Una (2), Hamirpur (1), and Chamba (3).

In Shimla, five family members of a policeman, who had tested positive a couple of days ago, also tested positive.

HP Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin July 27, 2020 (9PM)

himachal pradesh demand of lockdown amid surge in covid-19

Some leaders of the ruling party (BJP) continue to invite criticism for behaving irresponsibly. The government itself is not learning any lesson from the situation in Govindgarh- a hot spot where the outbreak was triggered due to a marriage ceremony.

On Monday, the opposition Congress filed a police complaint against three persons including a BJP leader for violating rules by roaming around and meeting a large number of people instead of placing themselves under home-quarantine. The opposition said that samples of these persons were taken after they showed symptoms of the COVID-19 infection. Still, these persons kept roaming around after giving samples. The opposition has also alleged a discrimination was seen in initiating legal action for violations of social distancing norms. In Spiti, hundreds of tribal women were booked for staging protest against Minister Ram Lal Markanda for not adhering to the resolution passed by the locals regarding mandatory quarantine for all including the residents of the district. Cases have been filed against the opposition Congress too for violating these norms during recent protests. 

Earlier, a leader from Mandi had introduced the coronavirus in Chief Minister’s office and the State secretariat and infected about two dozen of his contacts including the Advocate General and his family. The leader reportedly visited the IGMC, Shimla, State High Court and other offices.

Now, another ex-MLA from Nadaun and the Vice-Chairman, HRTC, was reported to have met several party workers and even attending an event as the chief guest. Vijay Agnihotri reportedly continued shopping, roaming around, and meeting people after giving a sample. Reportedly, he also attended a marriage ceremony. The district administration would now have a task to trace all his contacts.

At the sametime, the Congress was also seen disregarding the social distancing norms during their recent protests against the hike in bus fare.

Laxity in Organization of and Checking Gathering in Govt Events

While the state government has issued guidelines for attending funerals and marriages, there is hardly any seriousness when it comes to organizing government or the party events. The ‘havan’ organized in Shimla where hundreds of people had gathered and several party leaders including Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had visited it. The event had invited criticism as the Chief Minister and workers of BJP Mahila Morcha were seen disregarding every social distancing norm. 

An employee of HP University also tested positive recently. A few days prior to the confirmation of this case, an event was organized at the varsity on the occasion of the Foundation Day a large number of people including media persons were present.  

Amid such a sharp increase in cases, instead of being so lax, the government is supposed to prohibit any such gathering or at least issue guidelines regarding the maximum number of persons allowed to attend such events/functions.

Solan district where the total COVID-19 cases have reached 553 has begun to witness a shortage of health staff.  The BBN area is the worst hit and has reported about 80 percent of the total cases in Solan. According to a media report, there are only 10 doctors at the CHC at Nalagarh and six at the Civil hospital, Baddi. There are only 28 nurses.

Amid this panic, the public, especially from Shimla district has been suggesting the imposition of a lockdown and questioning the government over still keeping the border open for tourists. To make thing even worse, there are instances where people violated quarantine rules after their samples were taken or were not monitored properly. In Mandi district’s Bagsaid market, a person had opened his meat shop giving a sample. It was after the arrival of his report that the shop was closed. 

Further, the online opinion poll of the State Government inviting public opinion over the imposition of a complete lockdown in the state has led to speculations of a possible lockdown from August 1st.  The matter regarding a lockdown is expected to be taken up in the Cabinet meeting to be held on July 30. The public is confused and preparing to stock up ration/essentials or planning to leave for villages. Several readers have also been writing to Himachal Watcher to inquire about the possibility of imposition of a complete lockdown.  

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First Open for Tourism, Then Train Staff, HP Govt Goes Topsy Turvy

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Himachal pradesh CM jairam thakur on hotel staff training

Shimla- In the last week, the Himachal state government has taken decisions that could have a long-lasting impact on citizens without consulting or even informing all stakeholders.

First, it came out with guidelines for tourism that did not have any inputs from the tourism industry. Second, it decided to open the state for tourism without consulting hotel and travel industry or keeping village pradhans in the loop.Six days after the decision to allow tourist activity and opening State borders for tourists, the state government of HP has decided to train people employed with the industry.

“Online training for the Hospitality sector would also be held in wake of COVID-19. About 10,000 candidates would be provided one-day training on hygiene and sanitation procedures. Three weeks training on basic essential of a tourist guide communication skill etc. would be provided to about four hundred candidates,”

said Chief Minister Jairam Thakur in a review meeting with Tourism Industry officials on 8th July. It’s surprising that the Government did not find the time to either have this ‘1 day training’ program ready or train the staff of hotels and restaurants before throwing open state borders for tourists. The government gave no time to the hotel industry to understand, prepare and implement directions given in the issued SOPs.

Major Hotel Associations have already decided to keep hotels closed at least till September and  Village Pradhans have also refused to allow tourists into their jurisdiction. The Chief Minister said that the State Government is following the lead of states such as Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Goa, Kerala etc. where the Governments have decided to open the State for tourists.

To enter Himachal Pradesh, tourists have to meet three conditions, a valid booking for at least five days, a COVID-19 test report from an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) certified laboratory not older than 72 hours and their vehicle should have a sanitisation certificate.

About 600 tourists have already entered Kangra district. Police arrested a couple in Kangra district who managed to enter the State by furnishing a fake COVID-19 negative report.

“A case was registered at Damtal police station against a couple who entered HP from Bhadroya barrier based on fake COVID Negative test report. Legal action is being initiated against them for cheating, fraud & forgery. They are currently lodged in an institutional quarantine facility at Parour,”

SP, Kangra, Vimukt Ranjan, said confirming the report. In another case in Kullu, five tourists, who managed to enter the State and reach Bajaura barrier in Kullu, were detained for not carrying required documents. A total of 12 tourists have been allowed in to Kullu district after they met the three conditions needed for tourists.

According to Kullu district police, about 70 tourists from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh etc. were sent back for not fulfilling conditions prescribed by the State Government. Tourists who should be sent back for a lack of required documents and fulfilling conditions given in the SOPs issued by the State Government are able to cross barriers at borders, like Parwanoo and Swarghat.

Police manning barricades are also frontline staff who are at risk.

We have provided police who are manning the barricades with N95 masks, raincoats that will serve a double purpose for rain and COVID protection and long gloves, policemen over the age of 50 years and those with existing conditions are not deployed at barricades,

said DSP, Kullu, Priyank Gupta.

While the majority of the hospitality industry players, (which is worst hit by the loss of business), is against opening the State for tourism, there are some, especially those who have leased hotels and taken loans who want to open for tourism. However, until the state government takes steps to add healthcare facilities and make more dedicated COVID hospital wards especially in rural areas, large scale tourism could endanger locals.

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