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Barbaric Kotkhai Case: Police confirms first arrest, says all culprits will be behind bars soon

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Arrest in Kotkhai rape and murder case

SHIMLA- Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s IT Cell has come under fire for alleged blunder of uploading photos of four persons claiming them to be the detained suspects. The photos vent viral after they were allegedly uploaded from Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s official and verified Facebook Page.  These four people have approached police fearing threat to their life.

Photos of Kotkhai rape suspects

Meanwhile,  Himachal Pradesh Police is claiming a breakthrough as it made the first arrest in barbaric Kotkhai rape and murder of a Class X student. The naked body of the school girl was found dumped in Halaila woods.

The Inspector General, South Range, Zahur Zaidi has confirmed the report of the arrest, and has identified the man as Ashish Chauhan aka Ashu, a resident of Sharaal Village, Mahasu in Kotkhai. He is said to be the caretaker of apple orchard that belong to an influential grower. However, other reports suggest he is an engineering student. It’s being said that the arrested man has confessed his crime.

The arrested accused will be produced in Theog Court by today afternoon where police will request remand for further investigation. With this arrest, police is claiming that more arrests could be made very soon.

According to media reports, police has identified the house where the barbaric crime was committed, and the car in which her body was carried to be dumped in woods. One of the reports said police has recovered one of the socks that the girl was wearing on the day she was allegedly kidnapped from Ashish’s house.

Police is also suggesting the possibility that the girl possibly knew this man, and might have walked to the house where she was raped and murdered.

According to a report published on Indian Express, postmortem has confirmed that the girl was choked to death by strangling on July 4, the day she had gone missing. The report also revealed shown proof of broken limbs and deep injuries on her face and other body parts.

The suspects that were detained for questioning are said to be aged between 21 to 29 years, but the IG Zaidi refused to disclose their identity yet, said the report.

According to report published in Hindi Dailies, the forensic investigation has revealed that culprits had inserted sand into the private parts of the victim in an effort to erase evidences. The wounds and scars on her body suggest she had tried to fight the culprits or defend herself from physical tormenting.

All detained accused and the arrested person are from well to do families and are believed to be involved in drug abuse . The police haven’t ruled the possibility that some of these suspects were also carrying out drug paddling in the area.

Police claim that their investigation and detainment of suspects were based on their call details of July 4. By tracking location of cellphones, police has reportedly tracked the house where the crime was allegedly executed.

Meanwhile, anger continue to rise among people, and they continue to organize candle march and stage protests demanding justice for the girl, who has been named Gudiya. Public is terrified after this barbaric case came into light, and safety of girls in Dev Bhoomi has come into question like in capital Delhi.

The current case is no less horrific than that of Delhi’s Nirbhaya case. Entire nation was stunned at the brutality with which a paramedic student was raped in moving bus and dumped on road in Delhi in 2012.

The case has also alarmed the public and the administration about rise in drug abuse and drug peddling. As per police, the culprits possibly committed this heinous crime in drugged state.

With the first arrest, it is expected that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to investigate the case would make more revelations about the culprits very soon, and put the accused behind bars.

Art & Culture

Wah Re Corona: Himachali Folk Artist’s Lyrical Satire is Factual Rendition of India’s Agonizing Catastrophe

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wah re corona

Shimla-Otherwise blatantly vocal and distinctively mass-mobilizing government of India is suddenly in the most subdued self after its proclaimed victory over the deathly virus; participation in uncontrolled election rallies; and permitting maha melas. The stalwarts are in the hiding, while helpless citizens – who voted them into power not once but in landslide victories twice – are dying due to lack of oxygen, poor – unavailable – medical facilities, and the denial stance of the ignorant in the helm.

Drawing a comparison between the fatal coronavirus and the mismanagement of the entire situation by the appalling government; a Himachali folk artist has released a factually appropriate lyrical satire that will tickle your mind and leave you to imagine what has brought this catastrophe onto us. The song is written by Rameshwar Sharma and music by Lalit Sauta. 

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HP Govt Faces Backlash Over Fake Covid e-Passes Issued in the Name of Trump and Amitabh

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Fake e-covid pass himachal pradesh government

Shimla-Two fake COVID e-passes in the name of Donald Trump and Amitabh Bachchan for obtaining permission to enter Himachal Pradesh, which were approved by the state government, have raised questions over the validity of the registration process. The passes reportedly cited addresses of  Sector 17,Chandigarh, and had the same Aadhaar number and phone number. The vehicle is also registered in Chandigarh. 

The Himachal Pradesh Government has made it mandatory to obtain permission through Covid e-pass registration on its official web portal in order to enter the state. 

Pertinent to mention that the state government is already facing flak over flexible rules of corona curfew imposed in the state at a time when the fatality rate is spiking massively.

The state police, through its Twitter handle, confirmed receiving a complaint and has registered an FIR under relevant sections and the IT Act.  

The Covid e-pass software has been developed by the State Information Technology Department The purpose is to keep records, the department says. People desirous of entering the state are supposed to get the names and addresses registered in the software so that their travel history could be tracked and traced. However, the current incident of approval to fake passes has brought the system under the scanner.

After facing a backlash on social media from people and opposition, Urban Development and TCP Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, and Information and Technology Minister Dr. Ram Lal Markanda issued a statement today.

Without clarifying the cause, the statement said,

“State Government has allowed free movement to the State from other parts of the country with few conditions, but at the same time was also ensuring to maintain a proper record of those visiting the State.”

“It was unfortunate that some mischievous elements with ulterior motive and nefarious designs were furnishing fake names and addresses while applying for Covid e-pass which was unfortunate and uncalled for. Such cheap deeds  were not only unlawful and illegal but were also against the safety and security of the people,” the statement said.

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With Neighboring States Going to Curfew, Himachal’s Tourism Sector Again Comes to a Halt

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curfew in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government may not have imposed restrictions on tourist movement, but the industry is facing the heat of second wave of coronavirus pandemic, which has now reached an alarming level.  Alarmed by massive spike in new cases and fatalities, Delhi yesterday imposed a curfew for six days. 

Further, with neighboring states including Panjab and Haryana going into a lockdown-like situation with the imposition of weekend curfews, tourist influx in Himachal Pradesh has dropped drastically, hitting the tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh. Last weekend the hotels claimed the occupancy was almost zero. The hoteliers and other stakeholders said the current situation is similar to what they faced during the lockdowns last year. After lockdowns spoiled the peak tourist season of the last year, the industry is hardly in a position to take another blow, hoteliers said. 

Conditions in Himachal are no better. In 19 days of April month alone, the state has recorded over 14,000 cases and the infection has claimed 155 lives, which is a massive surge in a very short duration. The rates of the surge in new cases and fatalities have also been recorded to be much higher as compared to the previous year.

The state government on Monday said that all educational institutions of the State would remain close till May 1 2021, and faculty of schools, colleges and universities wouldn’t have to come to duty.

The State Government also decided to put a complete ban on transfers of field functional staff.

Right after getting a nod from the Centre, the state government had also postponed the board and UG examinations.  Further, the HP Board of School Education is reportedly mulling over promoting class 10 students.

Chief Minister on Monday also said that the government could take more decisions to contain the spread in the meeting to be held on April 22. Some media reports said that the state government has hinted at the imposition of a curfew. While interacting to media yesterday, Chief Minister had also said that there are no plans for a complete lockdown, but if the situation continues to worsen, a curfew can be imposed. The Chief Minister had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort as it would hurt the tourist influx, thus, cause economic damages.  

However, if the businessmen and hoteliers are to be believed, currently keeping the state open for tourism is hardly providing any relief. Moreover, they are not able to differentiate between a curfew and lockdown. They have begun to seek relief from the state government.  

On the other hand, in case the state decides to impose a curfew, the situation would get quite difficult for the poor, especially migrant workers, daily wagers, and small street-side vendors too.  

Further, fear of the collapse of health infrastructure haunts the state as the government is still in the phase of passing directions to the officers to enhance the bed capacity in the hospitals.  As per the statement given by Chief Minister on Monday, the state is yet to take steps to ensure the proper availability of oxygen and staff.

“Steps would be taken to ensure the proper availability of oxygen and medical staff in the State.  Bed capacity would be enhanced in Nerchowk Medical College, IGMC Shimla, Zonal Hospital Dharamshala, Tanda Medical College, Sunder Nagar Hospital and various other hospitals. Health workers would be posted in appropriate number for the care of Covid-19 patients,” Chief Minister said.

Chief Minister is being condemned for not completing make-shifts hospitals during the lockdown period along with strengthening the health services the way the it was required.

With the re-notification of Shimla’s DDU hospital- one of the busiest in the state- as a dedicated COVID care hospital, the OPDs has been closed. With the ongoing surge in new cases, more hospitals are likely to be re-notification as dedicated COVID care hospitals, and regular OPDs would be closed for other daily patients.

Moreover, for setting bad examples for the people, all political parties and their leaders, including Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, had faced severe criticism over blatant violation of COVID-19 protocols during campaign rallies for the elections to the Municipal Corporations. As a result, the public is hardly taking the second wave seriously and lowering their guards against the infections, which is only worsening the situation.

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