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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.”

Election Watch

In Himachal, Over 50 Lakh Voters to Cast Vote in 7730 Polling Stations on May 19

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Polling in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla– Over fifty lakh voters are set to vote in 7730 polling stations in four parliamentary constituencies of Himachal Pradesh in the last phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha election on May 19.

Talking about the poll preparations, Additional Chief Electoral Officer DK Rattan said, “53,30,154 voters will vote in 7730 polling stations on May 19. 373 polling stations are critical, 47 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed there.

It’s being ensured that voting takes place peacefully at all polling stations. Rattan said that polling agents have either reached their respective polling stations or are on their way

“Polling party for the remote, tribal polling station at Bara Bhangal in Kangra district was sent on May 15. In Shimla’s Dodra Kawar, teams and material were sent for seven polling stations on May 16,”

he said

“In Lahaul Spiti district, the polling station has been set at an altitude of 15,256 feet at Tashigang. This is the world’s highest polling station,”

he added. (ANI)

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity Scholar Selected for World Congress on Agroforestry 2019, France

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Krishan Lal Gautam of UHF Nauni in France

Solan: Krishan Lal Gautam, a doctorate student of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has been selected to give a poster presentation at the 4th World Congress on Agroforestry, being held in Montpellier, France from 20-22 May 2019.

Based on the abstract the scientific committee of the Congress has selected Krishan Lal for receiving 1921 euros grant for attending the event. This includes 340 euros for registration and other fees while another 1,481 euros is being paid to facilitate travel, accommodation, visa and living expenses.

Krishan Lal has completed his B Sc (Hons) Forestry and M Sc Agroforestry from UHF. He is presently pursuing his doctorate in Agroforestry from the university. The title of the poster presentation is ‘Effect of different types of organic manure on the production of Lepidium sativum under Morus based agroforestry system’.

Dr HC Sharma, UHF Vice-Chancellor said that it was a great achievement for a student to be selected for an international academic event of such high repute. He hoped that Krishan Lal will not only represent the institution but also shine at the event. The Dean College of Forestry and the faculty also wished him success at the event.

The 4th World Congress on Agroforestry will see the participation of more than 1000 delegates and leading keynote speakers from all over the world to address a wide range of key agroforestry research issues. It will gather facts and figures from developing and developed countries and support a collaborative effort with broad social participation. Special attention will be given to vulnerable countries and populations.

The overall objective of the Congress is to contribute to the progress of agroforestry science and practice in order to bridge the science-policy gap. Some of the topics which will be covered during the congress are agroforestry and climate change, agroforestry, food security and nutrition, adoption of agroforestry, agroforestry policies etc.

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Misc News/Press Release

Shimla Rape Case: An Eyewitness Confirms Part of Victim’s Statement

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Update on Shimla Rape Case Victim

Shimla-The alleged case of rape with a 19-year-old in Shimla’s Bhattakufar area has become more complicated as an eyewitness confirmed a part of the victim’s statement given to police. As per reports, this eyewitness, in his statement, told police that he was parking his car on that night (28 April) when this girl came to him rushing and asking for help.

“He claimed the 19-year-old was in a semi-nude condition and was begging for help when he came across her near the Hill Grove on the Dhalli-Bhattakufar road,”

reported News 18

She was so scared that she tried to enter his car, he said. She asked him about the name of the location. The eyewitness told her that it was Hill Groove.

This eyewitness said he told the girl to not to worry and even told her that he would call her wife if that makes her feel safe.

A few minutes later, the eyewitness told the police, two persons came on a bike. One of the boys gave his shirt to the girl and took her with him. The eyewitness also gave initials of the bike number, and said he could not remember the complete number as it was dark.

The eyewitness also identified the boy in front of police later.

The police also questioned the boy, who is said to be a friend of the girl. As per the boy, he later provided the girl with his sister’s clothes. The sister of the boy also confirmed the same, said a Hindi Daily.

The eyewitness said that on reaching home he had told about this incident to his wife as well.

Sources said the girl had mentioned in her complaint seeking help from a man after she was allegedly raped, which has been now confirmed. The girl had made a call to his friend and on the Gudiya helpline between 9:20 PM and 10 PM. Police has not revealed any further details about the call records of the girl’s phone.

However, the appearance of this eyewitness has raised questions over the claim of the police that the girl’s statement was not matching with its findings.

Earlier, police had claimed that CCTV footages of about 1.5 km area concerned to the alleged crime did not corroborate with the girl’s statement regarding kidnap. Also, police had claimed that the girl had withdrawn her statement and denied her own allegations in her statement given before the magistrate under CrPC 164.

As a contrast to it, now police said a sketch of the accused have been prepared on the description given by the girl.

The report of the second opinion on medical examination of the girl has not been made public yet.

The report of the magisterial probe into the role of Lakkar Bazaar police that was to be submitted by Thursday evening has also been delayed.

As per the English Daily The Tribune, police have questioned about 70 persons in connection to the alleged crime.

“The girl had said the accused was not known to her and was in his early 30s, wore specs and had a mole on his lower lip.

the Daily reported.

So far, police is clueless about unidentified accused.

Another striking aspect related to the case is that the family of the victim has not given any statement so far.

Family of Victim Under Pressure from BJP Govt in Haryana: Rathor

On the other hand, the President of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, Kuldeep Rathor, in a press conference in Solan district on Thursday claimed, the family of the girl was being pressurized to hush-up the matter. He alleged that he has received this information from credible sources. As the girl hails from Haryana, and BJP is in power in both Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, her family was pressurized to not speak of it. This is the reason that after filing an FIR, the girl had to withdraw her statement, he alleged.

Rathor has also demanded a judicial probe under the supervision of the State High Court for a fair investigation.  

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