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Outrage over brutal murder of RTI activist/SC leader in Himachal, role of state police in question again

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RTI Activist murder in Himachal pradesh

Shimla: The case of the alleged murder of Kedar Singh Jindan in Shillai region of Sirmaur district on Friday is becoming more complex as more details are pouring in from his wife Hem Lata, locals and various organizations and groups that have come out in protest, demanding a fair investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Social and RTI activist and the Scheduled Cast Community are terrorized as well as enraged over the alleged murder of Kedar, who was also one of the SC leaders and an advocate by profession. Kedar was the sole bread earner of the family. He has left behind two daughters and a wife.

RTI Activist Kedar Singh Jindal Murdered

Related Story: RTI activist murdered in Himachal in broad daylight, had exposed a BPL fraud

Though two persons were arrested for the alleged murder, the Himachal Pradesh Police has again come under the scanner of the people as it is being alleged that this brutal murder was planned in connivance with local police.

The terrorized family of the slain activist had requested a post-mortem of the body in Shimla alongwith shifting the investigation of the case from Sirmaur.

After the post-mortem at the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital on Saturday, protestors including the Member of Legislative Assembly Rakesh Singha tried to carry the dead body of Kedar to the Chief Minister’s residence but were stopped by police on the Shimla Ridge Maidan.

The protestors placed the body in the Rain Shelter and continued their protest throughout the night in rain. The Deputy Inspector General, Asif Jalal, had come and meet the protestors. The protestors including the wife of the victim labelled serious allegations against the police for its failure to provide security to her murdered husband despite the fact that he had already requested security from police.

The family alleged that a couple of months ago, Kedar had already requested the police to provide him security as he had been receiving threats to his life. He had named several people who were threatening him. Moreover, he was assaulted at least on two to three occasions earlier too. Despite it, the family alleged, the police did nothing.

My husband was the only bread earner and now there is nobody in the family to take care. He had already asked for security as he was threatened for life and police did not take any action. He was attacked by these people earlier also,

the wife of Kedar told media.

Kedar, who was an RTI activist, social worker, leader of Schedule Caste community, and a politician, was allegedly hacked to death in a brutal manner on Friday. Afterwards, he was crushed under an SUV deliberately in broad daylight in Bakras in Shillai.

It was also alleged that before running-over Kedar with an SUV (Scorpio) owned by a member of panchayat Jai Prakash, more than two people assaulted him with iron rods.

In June 2018, Kedar had exposed a big fraud in the registration of families under the Below Poverty Line scheme and had demanded a probe into the matter. He had alleged that about six families of a panchayat in Sirmaur were able to get government jobs using fraud BPL certificates. The arrested accused belonged to one of these families and was a member of the panchayat (up-pradhan).

Though district police is not commenting over the case saying the investigation is under progress, the State president of Welfare Association of Schedule Caste and Tribe Employees, Sita Ram Bansal said there were some eyewitnesses too. One of them was said to have asked for security as the accused belong to influential families.

The Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj and the DIG met the protestors early morning on Saturday and assured that as per provisions, the family would be given Rs 20 lakh compensation, government job to victim’s wife, and free education to children upto graduation. It was only after this confirmation that the protestors allowed the body to be carried for cremation.

Under pressure from the protestors, the DIG had to make calls to administrative officials on the spot to confirm the details of the relief to be given to the family.

Further, Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch held a protest in Nahan demanding a judicial probe.

Kedar Cremated under Heavy Security

On Sunday, the dead body of Kedar was taken to his native village Paab in Shillai where he was cremated. A large number people including MLA Rakesh Singh and several activists attended the funeral. The SP, Sirmaur, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Paonta Sahib, and some other administrative officials were also present.

The trust of the people in government and in the state police is again put to a test, especially what happened in Shimla’s Gudia case. It is to be seen how swiftly the government and police work to provide security to the family and the eyewitnesses if any.

Misc News/Press Release

IIT Roorkee Proposes Earthquake Early Warning System for Himachal

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Earthquake Early Warning System for Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-Seismic hazard in Himachal Pradesh is very high as the maximum area of the state lies in the Himalayas, which is one of the most seismically active regions in the world. A developed Earthquake Early Warning System could be an effort in the direction to mitigate the seismic hazards in the state.

Therefore, IIT Roorkee has sent a proposal to the State Government to establish an Earthquake Early Warning System(EEW). IIT Roorkee has already installed such Earthquake Early Earning System in Uttarakhand with the help of State Government, which is running very effectively by generating a database of earthquake events, generating public awareness and detailed research on seismic activities.

According to IIT Roorkee’s proposal, Himachal Pradesh may put earthquake sensors in different parts of the State which will detect earthquake activities in real-time. The warning may be communicated to the general public by a network of sirens. If the earthquake has its epicentre in Kangra or Mandi regions, the people in the State Capital may get lead time to take action say by 30 to 35 seconds.

Similarly, the expected lead time to the major cities if 1905 Kangra earthquake repeats in the region would be Solan 42 seconds, Mandi 20 seconds, Dalhousie 8 seconds, Dehradun 77 seconds, Chandigarh 43 seconds, Ludhiana 37 seconds, Amritsar 38 seconds, Panipat 93 seconds and Delhi 123 seconds.

Timely action may save many lives if there is an earthquake in the State in future and such an early warning system is in place and institutionalized and such EEWS will help generating a database of earthquakes in the state and generating mass awareness on earthquake safety.

Regarding this proposal, a meeting to develop Earthquake Early Warning System in Himachal Pradesh was held under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary Revenue and Disaster Management Onkar Chand Sharma today.

After detailed deliberations, Onkar Sharma said that the State Government may consider and more discussion will be held to take up this proposal.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Excise and Taxation Department Collects Rs. 6421.55 crore in 2018-19 Financial Year: Govt

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HP Excise and Taxation Department tax collection for 2018-29

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Excise and Taxation department collected Rs. 6421.55 crores towards government ex-chequer during the financial year 2018-19 against the target of Rs. 5860.63 crores.   The department has collected Rs. 1159.74 crores up to May 2019 during current fiscal. This information was released by Principal Secretary (E&T) Sanjay Kundu.

Kundu stressed on the need to run special campaigns for the realization of arrears due under all heads so that more revenue could be added to government ex-chequer. He also directed to work for plugging loopholes and leakages at all levels.

While expressing concern over pending arrears, he directed the department to take a fresh look at the provisions of Excise and Toll policy to make it more effective and realistic to achieve and secure higher revenue. He exhorted to make the excise policy more tourist-friendly by amending the relevant provisions and also by securing the government revenue. 

He emphasized conducting intensive and adequate training programmes for capacity building and to emulate the best practices and models available in the country.

He directed that the department should adopt a more proactive approach for revenue enhancement under Goods & Services Tax Act. The departmental officers in the field should take more interest in tax collection from the service sector in co-ordination with various government departments.

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Campus Watch

HPU VC Faces Backlash After Varsity Releases PG Merit List Without Settling UG Results

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ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension 3

Shimla– The Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh Univesity, Sikander Kumar, is facing backlash from students after he made the varsity a laughing stock by releasing merits list for PG classes without completely declaring and settling results of UG classes.

Both student organisations, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Student Federation of India (SFI) are up in arms against the VC, alleging him of incompetence to handle the affairs of the varsity properly. Also, both students organizations have been alleging the varsity of irregularities in admissions to P.hD and MCA.  

The students are alleging that not only the dictatorial attitude of the VC mentally harassing thousands of students across the state but also harassing those students who are protesting against prevailing disorder and irregularities in the working of the authorities.

It’s pertinent to mention that the varsity on Thursday suspended 10 members of the ABVP for staging protest over delay and irregularities in the UG results due which students were facing huge inconvenience.

ABVP, during another protest on July 19, termed it a dictatorial and one-sided action aimed at suppressing the voices protesting against corruption and the harassments students were facing.

SFI also criticized this action of the varsity. Irrespective of the organization to which they belong, SFI condemns the suspension of these students who were protesting against prevailing disorder at the campus, said SFI campus secretary Jeevan Thakur.

Today, ABVP staged another protest over the suspension of its members at the campus in which students laid down on the ground pretending to be dead bodies, terming it a symbolic representation of the future of students.

ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension5

The students warned that a movement similar to JP Narayan of 1975 that was organized to end the emergency like situation would be re-created against VC’s dictatorship.  ABVP demanded to revoke the suspension of 10 students and properly declare the UG results. The organization warned that if the varsity does not accept these demands, a massive protest would be organized on July 22 – the foundation day of HPU. Chandel has warned that not even the Chief Minister would be allowed to enter the varsity campus on that day.

ABVP Protest at HPU against suspension6

SFI also alleged the current VC of adopting a completely dictatorial attitude towards students and raised questions over the working of the varsity authorities.

The varsity failed to settle the results of the sixth semester of UG classes by July 19. The students are compelled to visit the varsity themselves to get their results corrected. Moreover, without settling UG results, the varsity has released the merit lists of the entrance exams for PG classes, said SFI.

It said the VC is more concerned about protecting his staff responsible for creating disorder and indulging in corrupt practices. Letters with false allegations against them were being sent to the parents of those students who were taking part in protests, which is leading to mental harassment of both students and parents, SFI alleged.

Students are being treated like captives in hostels. Even 24×7 library was made inaccessible to students. The inter-hostel outing in girl hostels was also suspended, said SFI.

The campus president of SFI Vikram Thakur alleged that the varsity is consistently depriving students of their democratic rights. He urged the students to unite in order to end this dictatorial attitude of the VC.

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