Shimla – In the Kotkhai rape and murder case, the National Commission for Women member, Sushma Sahu, came down heavily on the Himachal Pradesh Police, State Government, and the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh in a press conference held in Shimla on Saturday.
The doubts among people have further deepened as the NCW member, too, expressed serious doubts over the police investigation and the attitude of the State Government toward the case.
She rounded up the State Government for highly careless acts such as revealing the identity of the minor victim by naming a school after her real name. Despite prohibition under legal provisions, the name of the victim was mentioned in the official notification issued by the government in this regards, which should invite legal action against it, she said.
Sahu, who is in Shimla regarding the investigation of the rape and murder of a 16-years-old school going girl in Kotkhai Tehsil of Shimla district, has upheld the allegation of locals that the police and the government are trying to shield real culprits, who hail from influential families. She showered several questions over the probe and pointed out several loopholes and the missing links in the police investigation.
Sahu had sent for the Director General of the Police to take stock of the entire investigation. However, the DGP didn’t show up. Instead, another official (ADGP) appeared who wasn’t even aware of the names of the accused and hardly had any idea about the investigation, she said. The ADGP had no answer when he was asked where the DGP was.
On the basis of her interaction, she asked the State Government to provide security to the victim’s family and immediate financial assistance to the wife of Suraj, the Nepalese accused killed in the police custody.
She questioned the government over its inaction and investigation regarding upload and deletion of photos of four persons on the Chief Minister’s official Facebook page on the night of July 11. The government hasn’t given any explanation from where those photos appeared and who was responsible for uploading them on CM’s official FB page, she remarked. She said no FIR was lodged in this regard despite the fact that this faux pas had fueled the chaos in public.
Sahu said during her visit to the family of the victim, she discovered that the wife of the Chief Minister, Pratibha Singh, had insisted the family to not push for the CBI inquiry in the case. However, Pratibha Singh, in a reply to these remarks, said her statement was twisted. She denied allegations of pressing the family to not ask for a CBI inquiry. She said the family was satisfied with the police investigation at that time.
The NCW member raised questions over the post-mortem report and the sequence of the crime given by the police in its probe. She further said that according to the report of the post-mortem conducted on Jul 7, the victim had eaten rice a few hours before her death, but the police probe report establishes July 4 as the date of her death, which is contradictory.
The parents who had seen the body at the spot reported fresh marks on her neck and the body. The father also claimed her leg and arm was fractured, she said. The father also told her that there was no sign of a struggle at the muddy spot and there was no mud on nails of the victim, which goes against the police claim that the crime was committed on the very spot where the victim’s body was found on July 6.
Further, in a sarcastic tone, she asked the police department what the staff was doing when the Nepalese accused Suraj was killed in the police lockup. She further questioned why the two suspects were kept in the same lockup. She said the suspension of the police staff over the killing of accused in the custody is just eyewash.
Mamata, the wife of the killed accused said her husband was detained by the police for questioning. When he returned home at evening, he was in a miserable shape. He told her that he was badly beaten by the policemen who were allegedly drinking while question him, saiid Sahu. Mamata, Sahu added, claimed her husband was working in the orchards with her on July 4 and 5, but police did not verify this fact. Similarly, Raju, another accused, had taken his mother to hospital on July 5, which can be verified through hospital authorities and CCTV footages, she said.
The NCW member also questioned the overall working of the government in the case.
She said the report of the investigation conducted by her will be submitted to the Central Bureau of Investigation so that they could include these facts in the investigation.
Photo: Statesman News Service
Krishi Karman Award to Himachal for increased food grain production
The total food grains production in the state increased from 14.94 lakh tonnes to 16.40 lakh tonnes during last five years
Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has received the Krishi Karman Award for its achievement in showing highest production of food grains, said the State government.
Agriculture Minister Dr Ramlal Markanda received ‘Krishi Karman Award’ for the year 2015-16 from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a ceremony organized at New Delhi, yesterday. The award consists of a trophy, citation, and cash prize.
Besides, two progressive farmers of the state including a woman farmer also received the prizes.
Congratulating the Agriculture department for this achievement, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Dr Srikant Baldi said this feat was achieved by the department by extending technological inputs and services to the farmers of the state.
As per the government records, the total food grains production in the state increased from 14.94 lakh tonnes to 16.40 lakh tonnes during last five years. Besides, the department claims it has also done commendable work in promoting poly-house cultivation, crop diversification, micro-irrigation, organic farming and soil health management.
Krishi Karman Awards are instituted by the Union Ministry of Agriculture in 2010-11 to reward the best performing States in the production of rice, wheat, cereals, pulses and total food grains.
HP Cabinet Minister Vipin Singh Parmar celebrates birthday with special children
Shimla: Health and Family Welfare Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Vipin Singh Parmar, visited the school for deaf and dumb at Dhalli, Shimla, in the late evening and celebrated his birthday with special children.
Health Minister distributed fruits, vegetables, cake and sweets to the children. He also attended the cultural programme presented by the children on this occasion.
Parmar said the State government is giving special emphasis on the welfare of special children, education, food and shelter facilities. He urged teachers and staff members at school to work for the welfare of these children with commitment and dedication.
These children are an important part of the society. These children have some traits and talents in them which need to be honed for their better future, he said.
He said many special children are contributing to the society at par with the general citizens. These children are also serving efficiently in the government services.
Parmar interacted with children and encouraged them to learn more. He said that these children are special to the society. They should have a progressive approach to the life and a passion for learning.
Son of Kanchan Singh Parmar, Vipin was born at village Nanao, Tehsil Palampur, in Kangra on March 15 March, 1964.
Rohtang Tunnel access road facing increased avalanche threats as Himachal’s average temp on rise: Study
Shimla: A research carried out in Himachal Pradesh within the framework of the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Program (IHCAP), a partnership led jointly by the Indian and Swiss authorities with strong scientific input from University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, has a bad news for the Hill State.
The impacts of global warming are felt especially in mountainous regions, where the rise in temperatures is above average, affecting both glacierized landscapes and water resources.
The repercussions of these changes are manifold and varied, from retreating glaciers to an increase in the frequency and intensity of snow avalanches.
A team of researchers from the UNIGE, Switzerland, has employed endrochronology– the reconstruction of past disasters as recorded in growth series of trees– to disentangle the role of global warming in the triggering avalanches.
The results of this study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Science – PNAS.
Read Detailed Study
Avalanches are a natural phenomenon and occur repeatedly in mountain areas; nonetheless, rising temperatures are altering their triggering. This can lead to disasters and serious consequences in mountain areas where they can severely affect the socio-economic development and the destruction of traffic infrastructure, and buildings.
This is the case in Himachal Pradesh, where increasing residential numbers and tourism are exerting pressure on land use. Along the road to Leh, 500 km north of New Delhi, the Indian government has drilled one of the largest tunnels of the Indian sub-continent.
With the ongoing climate warming, snow avalanches are increasingly threatening the access road to the tunnel. This is why UNIGE researchers conducted their fieldwork at the spot from 2013 to 2015, in a valley located at between 3,000 and 4,000 m.
Trees: silent witnesses to the upsurge in the number of avalanches
The aim of the research group was to evaluate – and add to – the information currently available about avalanches with two goals:
(i) To identify the nature of the changes in avalanche activity currently taking place; and
(ii) To assess future needs for tackling these changes.
In the absence of data comparable to the information collected in European surveys, for which records often exist for the past few centuries, the UNIGE researchers focused on trees: they examined stumps (when the tree had been removed) or cored trees that were still standing to reconstruct past snow avalanches at the study site.
The scientists were able to date individual events by analysing the growth rings and wounds left on the trees by avalanches. The research included nearly 150 trees.
Since we knew the position of each affected tree, we were able to reconstruct the dynamics, lateral extent and runout distance of every avalanche,
explains Juan Antonio Ballesteros-Cánovas, a senior lecturer at UNIGE’s Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE).
This technique meant we could go back to 1855 and record 38 avalanches over this period in the valley, the largest survey conducted to date in the Himalayas.
The models used for testing the impact of climate change combine the risks of avalanche with local climate data. They were adjusted to include the likely effect on topographical features resulting from earlier avalanches.
Since they destroy the plant cover, they are an aggravating risk factor. The results brooked no argument: from the second half of the twentieth century, there has been an increase in the number of avalanches, both in terms of frequency and intensity. The frequency has risen from one event per decade to almost one event every year.
The impact of temperature on the cryosphere
Avalanches are bigger, travel greater distances and are triggered earlier in the year. These changes can be attributed clearly to rising temperatures, which have reached 0.2 to 0.4 degrees annually in some parts of the Himalayas.
And rising air temperature are also affecting the cryosphere: glaciers are receding and permafrost is melting, losing its role as a sediment stabiliser.
In addition, the structure of the snowpack is changing: it is being transformed by increasingly warmer air temperatures and/or altered by rain-on-snow events.
Snow is now also falling earlier in the season and is being destabilised before spring, at a time when it is thicker, leading to an increase in the number and intensity of avalanches.
Since the snow is wet, avalanches are descending slowly but over greater distances than in the past.
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