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Kasauli Shootout: SC pulls up HP Govt and Police over poor security arrangements

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Supreme-court-on-Himacahal-PRadesh-Shooting

Solan: The Supreme Court of India has taken suo motu notice of the alleged murder of a lady officer while she was executing its orders to demolish illegal construction by hoteliers in Kasauli area in Dharampur of Solan district yesterday afternoon.

The court lashed out at the State Government for not ensuring adequate security due to which the accused opened fire in the presence of the police and even managed to flee the spot.

The court asked how it was possible for a person to shoot the official and a worker in broad daylight, in the presence of the police, and still manage to easily flee the scene.  

The accused still remain absconding as the police has launched a search operation to nab him

Supreme-court-on-Himacahal-PRadesh-Shooting

The police had already announced a reward of Rs. 1 lakh to anyone who will provide authentic information regarding the absconding accused.

Accused vijay Singh of narayani hotel

Absconding Accused Vijay Singh

The court said it would stop passing orders if government officials continue to be killed while executing its orders.  Further, the bench headed by justice MB Lokur directed the matter to be listed before the Chief Justice of India for proper hearing on Thursday.

A Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur on April 17, 2018, had upheld the orders of the National Green Tribunal regarding directions to demolish illegally constructed parts or stories of as many as 13 hotels and guesthouses.

The illegal constructions had put the entire city in danger and were causing landslides, the SC had observed. It had further made it clear that human lives cannot be risked to make money.

The district police officials claimed that the deceased official did not inform them before going to the spot. However, opposed to the statements, some policemen are visible in videos recorded before the murder.

The Case

Shail Bala (51), one of the Assistant Town Planners of the Department, hailed from Mandi district. On Tuesday, Shail Bala was heading one of the four teams constituted by the district administration and HP TCP to undertake demolition drive to remove encroachments and illegal constructions from 13 hotels and guesthouses.

The teams faced resistance from the hotelier community. However, the teams were accompanied by heavy police security and did not step back.

While demolition was in process, the officer reached the Narayani Guest House where the owner’s son, Vijay Singh (51), and his mother Narayani Devi (70) were seen arguing with the team.

The owner had allegedly raised a six-story building while he had approval for only three. 

The accused was seen in videos showing maps of the building to the lady official and claiming his map was legally approved.  He first made requests and then threatened the team to commit suicide. 

Thereafter, the team walked towards another site. In afternoon, when the team returned to the said Guest House, accused Vijay tried to interfere in the execution of the orders.

When the official reportedly asked the police to intervene, the accused demanded more time. On being denied, he opened fire with his licensed gun. He fired at least three bullets which killed the lady official on the spot and injured a worker of the Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department (PWD).  

The life of the victim could have been avoided. The police should have detained the accused when he had threatened to commit suicide. The police either failed to sense the sensitivity of the situation .

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CM Jairam Thakur Tests Positive for COVID-19, Quarantined

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HImachal Pradesh CM Tests Positive for COVID-19

Shimla-Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, have tested positive for COVID-19 and has been quarantined at his official residence. The report was confirmed by the Chief Minister through a tweet in which he informed that he was under quarantine at his residence after coming into contact with a COVID-19 positive person. On the appearance of symptoms, he got himself tested and the report was found to be positive, he informed.

According to the initial report, the Chief Minister had come in contact with some COVID-19 positive persons in Manali. MLA of Banjar, Surinder Shourie, who was positive for COVID-19 had participated in the event organized on the occasion of the inauguration of Rohtang Tunnel, had also tested positive. Shourie had spent the entire day with the Chief Minister, reports said.

His private secretary had also tested positive, and there are chances that the Chief Minister might have contracted the infection from him. However, there is no certainty regarding the contact who infected the Chief Minister.

Other than Chief Minister, three Cabinet ministers – Urban Development Minister Suresh Bharadwaj, Power Minister Sukh Ram Chaudhary, Jalshakti Minister Mahender Singh- have tested positive so far.  Over ten MLAs have already tested positive and some of them have recovered too.

Meanwhile, despite community spread, the testing and tracing seem to have fallen and the fatality rate has witnessed a steep rise. Till 12 pm today, the COVID-19 death tally for the state was 245, and the total number of cases registered was 17414. But these are official statistics and these numbers are likely to be much higher. 

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Himachal: COVID-19 Kills 59 in 9 Days, Govt Still Clueless About Actual Number of Cases

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Himachal PRadesh Jairam Thakur

Shimla-COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as the death tally spirals upward rapidly. Currently, 240 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Fifty nine of these deaths have been reported during the last nine days of October month, which is quite alarming. But contrary to that, the attitude of the state government, as well as, the public is becoming more casual. The SOPs issued by the government are hardly being followed anywhere. The fact that with the community spread, the cases of COVID-19 are falling in the official information released by the state Health Department.

On October 9, the Department traced only 199 cases but reported seven deaths. The total number of active cases was cited to be 2856. The deceased included three females and four males aged between 49 -75 years. View details of the deceased in the below-given table:

Shimla-covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

The total number of cases, as per the official statistics, had reached 16977 till yesterday evening (9 PM). But these are official statistics and the real number is likely to be much higher due to a community spread. Similarly, the actual number of COVID-19 deaths could be higher than the official statistics. Despite it, the state government is reluctant to release any projection regarding the real numbers. No statements have been issued regarding the current situation and strategy to combat the rising fatality rate. Rather, the state appears to be refraining from bringing up the matter.

The oppositions, HP Congress and CPI (M), are targeting the government over its failure to combat the spread of COVID-19. However, this opposition is quite feeble and hasn’t resulted in any reforms in the attitude of the government.

In a statement to media, Sanjay Chauhan, former Mayor of Shimla and a senior CPI (M) leader, said that the rise in fatalities is the result of the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The suicide committed by a positive patient at the DDU COVID-19 hospital is evidence of it, he said. He said this approach has endangered health lives of ministers, officials, and the staff at their offices. Further, he said, health staff, paramedical staff, and police staff are getting infected, and even losing lives due to the government’s unpreparedness.  The government had even compromised the safety of the Prime Minister and Education Minister by violating norms set regarding COVID-19, he said.

HP Congress chief, Kuldeep Rathor also expressed shock over the presence of COVID-19 positive MLA of Banjar, Surender Shourie, in the event organized for the PM. He alleged that by violating all norms, the MLA concealed information regarding his COVID-19 positive status and did not quarantine himself, which reflects the state government’s attitude toward management of the corona pandemic. He had demanded registration of an FIR against Shourie and action against erring officials.

Sanjay Chauhan, further said that the government did not prepare itself to combat the pandemic the way it was expected to. The people of the state had followed the lockdown and sacrificed their livelihood with a hope that the government would prepare itself during this period to combat the spread and to strengthen the health infrastructure and services. But instead, the government indulged itself in making people clap and beat ‘thalis’.  The Chief Minister adopted and preached unscientific practices like performing a ‘havan’.  Despite a steep rise in fatalities, the government is still not serious about the situation, he said. 

He said the CPI (M) demands that the government starts working on war footing to prepare a strategy by involving health experts, strengthening the health services by recruiting doctors, para-medical and other staff, and constitute a task force to deal with the situation. The government should work diligently on following the norms set for prevention from COVID-19, he added.  

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Shocker for Himachal as Ex-CBI Chief & Governor Ashwani Kumar Found Dead at His Shimla Residence

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Himachal IPS Officer Ashwani Kumar found deat in shimla

Shimla-Ashwani Kumar – 1973 IPS officer from Himachal Pradesh cadre who had served as the Director-General of HP Police (2006-2008) and CBI chief (August 2008 to November 2010), and was later appointed the Governor of Nagaland in 2013-was found dead at his residence in Shimla on Wednesday evening. The news came as a shocker as Kumar was considered as one of India’s finest and honest officers.

Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Mohit Chawala, in statement to news agencies, confirmed the report. According to the initial report, he reportedly hanged himself and ended his life. However, no formal statement was issued regarding the suicide. According to the police, a suicide note was also recovered from the spot. However, the note was yet to be verified.

Kumar was a well known name as he had dealt with famous cases including that of Arushi Talwar murder and fake encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which current Home Minister Amit Shah was arrested in 2010.

He was one of the first appointees made to resign from the post of Governor, Nagaland, as soon as the current ruling party came into power in 2014. He also remained Governor of Manipur for a short period of time. After his retirement, Kumar was serving as the Vice-Chancellor of a private university in Shimla.

The officials who have served under Aswani Kumar have expressed shock over his demise in such a manner. 

Director-General of Police, Sanjay Kundu, and a team of medical staff was rushed to the spot. More details are awaited as the district police have not issued any formal statement regarding the incident.

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