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Hoshiar Singh row: Court orders CBI probe as it finds police investigation unconvincing

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CBI probe in hoshiar singh case

Mandi: The probe into the mysterious death of forest guard Hoshiar Singh in Seri-Katanda beat of the Karsog division, Mandi district was complete for the Himachal Pradesh Police and the State Crime Investigation Department (CID). However, the police has failed to convince the State High Court that a fair probe was conducted and it was indeed a case of suicide.

A division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma has eventually ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to unearth the truth.

If the police probe was found fraudulent, more police officials would be joining ex-Inspector General of Police, Zahur H Zaidi, and seven other police officials, who were arrested by CBI on August 29 over the alleged custodial killing of Suraj Singh – one of the accused in the Kotkhai rape and murder case.

The court had taken suo motu cognizance of the case on June 20 after public outrage in Karsog region that was spreading to other parts of the state. People have even formed a dedicated platform, Siraj Manch, under which several protest rallies were organized. The Manch and the relatives of late Hoshiar Singh had been demanding a CBI probe as they did not trust the local police and the government.

The CID and police had been investigating the case for over 100 days since the discovery of the body of the deceased guard on June 10, 2017.  The guard was missing since June 5.

It is pertinent to mention that CID and police claim to have completed the probe in which it was established that Hoshiar had committed suicide as an insecticide containing Chlorpyrifos and Cypermethrin was found in his body.

Six people including forest officials were arrested based on the information extracted from two pieces of paper and a diary. As per police, these papers were suicide notes. In these notes, Hoshiar had made stunning revelation regarding a strong nexus of the forest department with forest mafia.

The forensics confirmed that the handwriting matched with that of Hoshiar.

Four more people of the same family were arrested in August based on the videos and photographs recovered from Hoshiar’s mobile phone.

However, the amicus curiae appointed by the state High Court raised several questions and pointed out serious loopholes in the probe. The probe did not explain why the body was hanging upside down from a tree in a half-naked condition and whether the poison was self-administered or Hoshiyar was forced to consume it.

However, without investigating the facts related to administration of poison, police had told the court that it was a case of suicide.

The amicus had questioned the police that the guard had reportedly consumed rice, cereals, and salad at the house of a TGT teacher on July 5. As per postmortem report issued on July 10, these components were found undigested on the day of postmortem. Normally, the human body takes five to six hours in order to digest a meal.

Hence, the probe could not establish the accurate day and time of the death of the deceased, which is very crucial to the investigation, had said the Amicus.

The court had asked the police to convince it why the case should not be given to CBI for a probe. The agency was given ample time, but it failed to convince the court as several questions were still unanswered.

At the same time, the state forest department is also under the scanner for its inaction despite discovering evident proofs of illegal felling of the trees in the Karsog division. The department had conducted an internal inquiry and recovered hundreds of stumps and wood of illegally felled trees.

Questions were raised in court as to why the department did not make any progress in internal inquiry despite solid evidences against its officials.

The state government is allegedly evading action against the officials of the department for the fear that the allegations labeled by people and the oppositions will be proved right in that case. The polls for the state legislative assembly are hardly two months away and the state government is already facing public wrath in the Kotkhai rape and murder case.

The state government has been maintaining that the state police and CID are capable of conducting a fair probe in the case. However, the transfer of the case to the CBI had come as huge blow to the credibility of the state law enforcement agencies.

People are now hopeful that Hoshiar will now get justice.

Misc News/Press Release

Avalanche in Kinnaur buries soldiers, 1 killed, 5 missing and feared dead

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Kinnaur- An avalanche along the India-China border in Namgya region of Kinnaur district on Wednesday killed one soldier while five others were buried and still missing. The body of one soldier has been recovered. The rescue operation was underway at the time of writing.

The district administration and Superintendent of Police, Kinnaur, confirmed the news.

Jawans of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and district police are carrying out an extensive search and rescue operation.  

As per initial reports, which are not clear, about 10 jawans of ITBP were hit by a massive avalanche at about 11 AM on Wednesday while they were moving from one post to another. Five to six jawans were buried. Remaining jawans rescued one of them who later died on the way to the hospital in Pooh.  

Verification of more details is still awaited.

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Left Out Eligible Voters in Himachal Can Enroll on 23rd and 24th Feb: HP CEO

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Left Out Voters in Himachal Pradesh can apply

Shimla-In view of the general election for the Lok Sabha 2019, special camps will be organised at every polling station on 23rd and 24th February 2019, for enrolment of left out eligible voters in the State, informed the Chief Electoral Officer of Himachal Pradesh, Devesh Kumar.

He asked all Booth Level Officers (BLOs) to remain present in the camps along with the copies of final electoral rolls 2019. A copy of the electoral rolls will be available in the polling station so that electors can check their names in the rolls. The electoral rolls would be read out publically during the camp to facilitate illiterate voters. BLOs were asked to keep adequate copies of Forms 6, 7, 8 and 8A with him/her to facilitate filling up forms by interested persons.

Devesh Kumar said that all recognized political parties should depute their Booth Level Agents (BLAs) to remain present in camps. In case their name does not exist in the roll for some reason, the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) holders must also check their name in electoral rolls and fill up Form 6. The EPIC is only identification document and does not guarantee franchise if the name of the person is not included in the electoral roll of the concerned polling station.

He said that all forms received during these campaign days would be disposed of by  March 7, 2019. BLOs were directed to immediately complete the physical verification and then submit a report to the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO). The ERO should complete the due process of law and dispose-off the forms received during the camps within 11 days.

 Devesh Kumar said that registration can also be made through NVSP Portal by visiting the link (www.nvsp.in.) For inquiries, he said, electoral can also call on Toll-free number 1950.

Assembly constituency-wise data in respect of forms received during camps would be uploaded on the website of the commission at CEO’s portal by February 25, 2019. Information about the disposal of forms would be given through the website by March 7, 2019.

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Mandi Police Warns Miscreants Promoting Malice Against Kashmiris, Urges People to Maintain Peace

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Kashmiri people in Himachal Pradesh

Mandi-The District Police, Mandi, on Tuesday, issued a warning to miscreants who were trying to incite violence against and promoting malice against Kashmiri people living in the State.

“The public is informed that following the suicide bombing in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir, some miscreants are making appeals to the people on social media to throw Kashmiri labourers, hawkers, lumberjacks etc. out of State’

said the notice issued by the district police.

The police has warned that a stringent action against will be taken against anyone who is found preaching malice towards Kashmiri citizens through such messages/comments on social media or causing any sort of vandalism.

The police urged the people to beware of such hatemongers and miscreants and maintain peace in the society.  

On Tuesday, tension mounted in a panchayat of Mandi district when the villagers passed a resolution to ban Kashmiri citizens in their area. The villagers reportedly told the Kashmiris living in rented quarters to leave the State by Wednesday. Meanwhile, some miscreants reportedly pelted stones on their quarters. Scared Kashmiris had to take shelter at local police station, said reports.

In another instance, an unverified video was doing rounds on social media, showing two groups of students clashing inside the campus of a private university in Mandi. To incite fear, it was rumoured that the scuffle took place between Kashmiri and local students.  

Earlier, the campus of the UHF, Nauni, in Solan district, witnessed tension after police booked two of its students for alleged anti-national activities on social media. The booked students were allegedly supporting the suicide bomber responsible for the ghastly Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred.

Following this news, right-wing outfits in Himachal Pradesh had made calls for a boycott of Kashmiris. Similar tension was reported from other parts of the nation too. A large number of Kashmiri students, who were studying outside their home state, were returning home for fear of violence being incited by miscreants.

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