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Shimla Rape Case: No Evidence of Kidnapping, says Police, Girl Also Backtracks From Statement

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Update on Shimla Rape Case Victim

Shimla-In the case of alleged kidnapping and rape of a 19-year-old girl in Shimla city on Sunday night, police has claimed that no evidence of the kidnapping was found.  Police claimed that it went through footages of various CCTV installed along the Sanjauli-Bhattakufar road to trace the vehicle in which the victim was allegedly raped. Police claimed that the girl was seen walking along the road alone and no car is visible abducting her.

As shocker, the victim has also backtracked from her complaint. As per reports, she withdrew her allegations of abduction and rape in her statement given before the Magistrate on Tuesday.

“Sources said that the girl has stated before the magistrate that nothing had happened with her and she had lodged a false complaint. When the police showed her the footage of CCTV cameras from four locations, she admitted to have gone towards the school at Bhattakuffar voluntarily at night around 9:15 pm from Dhalli tunnel,”

reported Times of India.

The report added,

“She said that on Sunday, she had gone to Lakkar Bazaar police post only to get the number of “Gudiya helpline” and not to lodge the complaint of a possible stalking by a person.”

As per a media report, the girl and her brother, who had arrived in Shimla from Haryana after receiving news of the incident, were not talking to media.

It’s pertinent to mention that, an FIR was filed on Monday under Sections 354 A (sexual harassment), 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 366 (kidnapping) of the IPC on the statement of the girl. Initially, the medical examination of the girl at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, had confirmed that she was raped. However, police claimed that the second opinion was being taken on the report of the medical examination as it was not satisfied with it.  However, police did not disclose any details regarding the second opinion.

Also, there was no word over a Magisterial probe that was ordered to look into girl’s complaint that officials at Lakkar Bazaar police post had not filed a complaint when she had approached it on the evening of Sunday. As per reports, the findings of the Magisterial probe would not be made public.

Earlier, as per the FIR filed at Dhalli police station on Monday, the girl had stated that she was returning home on Sunday, at around 10 pm, when she was allegedly dragged into a car and raped in a moving car in the Bhattakufar area by three unknown men. She was, as per her statement, dumped on the road in a half-naked condition as her clothes were torn. Following it, the girl had reported the incident on the “Gudiya helpline” number.

The DGP R.S. Mardi had ordered formation of an eight-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Tuesday to probe the case. Also, a Magisterial probe by ADM was also ordered to probe dereliction of duty by officials at Lakkar Bazaar police post.

Despite the withdrawal of her complaint, the police said, SIT would continue its investigation. The girl was said to be staying with her aunt in the Bhattakufar area. She was taking coaching for an entrance exam. As per a report on News 18, the girl was a bright student and had obtained over 90 percent marks in her plus two exams and had also cleared the NEET exam.

After this twist in the case, oppositions are alleging that this case is being hushed up as it was exposing laxity of the police department and the state government towards the safety of women.

After coming to power in 2017, the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had launched “Gudiya helpline” following the gruesome Kotkhai rape and murder case of a 16-year-old. During his tenure, he had been maintaining that women are safer in the state under his governance. Moreover, women safety was a major poll agenda.

His claims of women safety were being challenged after this alleged case of rape in moving car came into light. The state is bound to go to polls on May 19, 2019, for Lok Sabha Elections; hence, the case had given ammunition to opposition parties to launch an attack on the ruling government.

Opposition Congress is already on roads protesting against the alleged case and had also demanded the dismissal of the current government through a memorandum submitted to the President via Governor Acharya Devvrat.

The opposition is also demanding that the probe should be conducted under the supervision of the State High Court as the government and police could try to hush it up considering dent to its image ahead of polling.

The public is finding this sudden U-turn hard to digest and raising doubts that it is possible the girl might be facing pressure or threats from the police or government to withdraw her complaint. Speculations are also being made about the involvement of high-profile persons in the case.

Further, police was tight-lipped over it, and the DGP had told media,

We don’t want to disclose anything since it will hamper our investigation. We have ordered a magisterial probe on the information that she had approached the police (at Lakkar Bazar but didn’t receive much help from the police there). I will wait for the report to come out before making further statements.”

Misc News/Press Release

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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