Kothkhai rape suspects

Kotkhai Case: While police interrogates 4 suspects, CM criticized for allegedly revealing their identity, photos go viral

SHIMLA- Himachal Pradesh Government and Police has come under pressure as public continue to take to streets protesting over spine chilling case in which a 16-year-old school girl was brutally murder after gangrape in Kotkhai Tehsil of Shimla district between July 4 and 6. Police has taken four suspects, who belong to different villages of the same region, into custody for interrogation but didn’t confirm their arrest.

On Tuesday, some pictures of four people went viral claiming they are the culprits behind the rape and brutal murder of the minor girl. While police did confirm nabbing four suspects for interrogation, it made it clear that they aren’t arrested yet. Police haven’t confirmed filing of any charges on the suspects yet, and maintained distance from media persons to keep the proceedings in the matter confidential until solid evidences aren’t available.

Moreover, the Director General of Police, Somesh Goyal, has announced a reward of Rs. 1 lakh to person who will provide information about the culprits. The announcement came after Shanta Kumar, Senior and most appreciated leader of Bhartiya Janata Party, had already announced reward worth same amount on his behalf to anyone who provides clue about the culprits.

Were Photos Released from Chief Minister’s Official Facebook Page?

Earlier, lack of knowledge and regard for ethics related to posting on social media has led to posting and circulation of pictures showing naked dead body of the girl. Only a few citizens came to criticize it while majority of population kept circulating it.

Surprisingly, this time, the photos that went viral on social media were allegedly first released on Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s official Facebook wall. However, the post was edited later and photos were removed. Aware social media users raised question over ethical and legal aspects associated with alleged release of photographs from CM’s social media profile.

Photos of Kotkhai rape suspects

Himachal Watcher viewed the editing history of the post and found that four images, which were no more visible, were posted initially with the same update. The edited history showed four empty frames as the images were deleted. The matter was brought to the attention of Himachal Watcher by some readers who shared screen shots of the CM’s post. 

Two locals also alleged that their name is being dragged into the matter to defame them. They posted messages pleading their innocence on their Facebook wall.

kotkhai gangrape and murder

Facebook Update by a local denying any involvement in the case

Facebook Update by another local denying any involvement in the case

Public Confused as Hindi Dailies Vary in Reports

However, ambiguity and drastic variance in media reports published in Hindi Dailies have created confusion among masses. While some of the dailies claimed that the suspects belong to influential families, others said they were drug peddlers and addicts. These two dailies also varied on reports regarding availability of evidences. One of the daily said the police have solid evidences, while other one said police isn’t speaking to media about it because they aren’t sure due to lack of any solid evidences.

Another local Hindi Daily said reports have suggested the girl had stayed at the house of one of the suspects. It further reported that police has even matched the fingerprints found on girls body with those of suspects. The report also said that some of them have already admitted their crime.

At the same time, English Daily, The Tribune, reported that Zahur Zaidi, IG, southern range, who is heading SIT, said, “It is too early to disclose the outcome of investigation and we hope to make a breakthrough in the case in a day or so.”

Police is expected to make crucial revelations today after interrogation, if it gets its hands on some evidences. For now, the only confirmed report is that police did nabbed four suspects for interrogation but didn’t confirm their arrest officially.

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