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Girls in a Chamba Balika Ashram allege 3 staff members of sexual harassment

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sexual harrasement at Chamba child protection home

Chamba: Six girls of a Balika Ashram (child protection home for girls) situation in Chilli of Tissa region in Chamba district has alleged three staff members of molesting and sexually harassing them. Three persons, the cook, clerk/accountant, and sweeper were arrested on Tuesday by the police immediately after receiving the complaint.

The reports have again raised huge question over the government’s measures to ensure the safety of children, especially girls in child protection homes. This particular child protection home has reported a case of rape by a staff member earlier too.

The said employees have been booked under Section 354A of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, confirmed Superintendent of Police Virender Tomar.

The girls were shifted to a child shelter in the district headquarters of Chamba and a medical was to be conducted on Wednesday.

As per reports, the Chamba unit of the Child Welfare Committee was on a visit to a legal awareness camp when a girl came ahead and reported sexual harassment by the said staff members. During the counseling, the girl admitted being sexually exploited by the said staff members.

The matter was brought to the attention of the Deputy Commissioner of Chamba, Sudesh Mokhta, who initiated the police action. 

As per the police, initially only one girl had alleged sexual harassment, but later five more girls came ahead during the investigation.

The employees have been suspended, and, if substantial evidences are found, they will be terminated, said the DC.

 Amidst this report, demand for medical examination of every girl has arisen. Only six girls have come ahead, there could more victims who might have remained silent. About 32 girls are living at this home

At the same time, the case highlights the importance of awareness and counseling services at such child protection homes to prevent such cases of sexual harassment. 

Majority of the staff members at this shelter (girls) are males. Considering the fear of such cases, the government should prefer posting female staff at all Balika Ashrams.

Safety of children in these homes was also discussed earlier, at a meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Child Welfare Council held on September 13 at Raj Bhawan.

Some major issues related to all Ashrams and Homes included installation of CCTV cameras, the appointment of a Psychiatrist at the local committee, and special facilities of counseling to the children living in them.

 

Pic: Amar Ujala

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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Misc News/Press Release

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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