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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

Solan Building Collapse: Death Toll Rises to 14 Including 13 Jawans and 1 Civilian, Rescue Operation Concluded

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Solan Building Collapse death toll

Solan-The toll of those killed in the collapse of a multi-storey building yesterday in Kumarhatti of Solan district that also housed a restaurant ‘Sehaj Tandoori Dhaba’ has risen to 14 as the rescue teams recovered more bodies. Over 25 people have been rescued and sent to Dharampur hospital for treatment. The deceased included 13 army jawans and one civilian, confirmed the Vivek Chandel, ADM, Solan. The rescue operation has concluded. As per the administration, total 42 people were trapped including 30 Jawans of Assam Rifles and 12 civilians. 

“Since yesterday, 17 Armymen and 11 civilians have been rescued. Three teams of the National Disaster Response Force have taken over the rescue,”

the Deputy Commissioner KC Chaman told PTI.

The building located on the Nahan-Kumarhatti road that housed a restaurant on one of the floors came down around 4 PM on July 14. As it was Sunday, several army personals of Assam Rifles had come to dine at the restaurant. The hotel owner also lived in the building along with his wife and two children. While the children were playing in the neighbourhood, their mother was present in the building. She reportedly died in the collapse, confirmed Additional SP Shiv Kumar Sharma.

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Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on July 15 also visited the spot and ordered a magisterial probe to ascertain the cause of the collapse. An FIR against the owner of the building has also been registered.
Jairam thakur in solan

With this tragedy, questions are being raised over the legality of the construction. The building that was constructed in 2009 had at least four storeys. One of the storeys, as per reports, was added recently.Some reports suggested that complaints were also filed regarding the construction of this building.

Solan Rescue Operation

Currently, weak foundation and non-compliance with existing rules regarding the construction of buildings are considered as causes of the collapse. However, the district administration officials said the actual causes could only be ascertained after a probe.

Over 250 men of National Disaster Relief Force, District Police, and army jawans from nearby cantonment were continuously carrying out rescue work since yesterday. 

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2 killed, Several Trapped as Multi-Storey Building Collapses in Solan’s Kumarhatti

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Solan Building Collapse

Solan– A multi-storey building collapsed in Kumarhatti in Solan district today. Twp people said to have been killed. As per initial information available, over 35 people were present inside the building, which is said to be a dhaba (restaurant) when it collapsed. Over 15 persons were pulled out of debris and rescued while several others are feared to be still trapped. The incident occurred during a heavy downpour.


Several of these trapped people included army jawans. The army personnel and their family members were on their way to Uttarakhand and had stopped at the restaurant for lunch, a district official told PTI.

Solan building

As per a Tweet by the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, about 40 people were trapped under the debris. Out of these, 19 were rescued and operation is in progress to rescue others.

Latest update from ANI said that 22 people were rescued. The rescued injured were taken to Dharampur hospital for treatment.

Injured in solan building collapse
As per the district administration, a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was sent for from Panchkula for carrying out the rescue operation.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Solan, and the Additional District Magistrate had also reached the spot.
Himachal pradesh building collapse

solan

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Shimla’s Popular Baljees Restaurant Shuts Down, Workers Protest Over Unpaid Dues Worth Crores

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Baljees shimla closed, workers protest

Shimla-Today, the iconic Baljees — a 65-years-old restaurant located on the Shimla Mall will be winding up its operation. While the media is highlighting Shimla’s mourning over the closing of Baljees, its 70 workers, who are now rendered jobless, are protesting for the last two days for their unpaid dues. Several of these workers have been serving in the restaurant for over four decades and have contributed a lot towards its growth.

The workers alleged that the restaurant has not paid their dues worth about two crores. As per the workers, these dues include gratuity, bonus, leave encashment, notice pay, retrenchment compensation etc.  However, the Baljees management had earlier assured that all the dues would be cleared before closing.

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has also come in support of these workers. It said the Baljees not only violating the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 but also going against the orders passed by the State High Court on July 12, 2018. In its July 12 orders, the court had made it clear that the management of the restaurant would have to pay all the dues before handing over the building to its owner.  In case the management fails to do so, this action would be considered as a contempt of the court orders, the CITU said.

The workers have urged the district administration and district police to make the management of the restaurant comply with the orders of the court. Otherwise, the workers said, they would file a contempt of court petition along with more protests.

 The Baljees, which was considered a destination restaurant, had gained popularity among both locals as well as tourists. Several influential political names from Virbhadra Singh to Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to visit the restaurant, it is said.  

Chandra Baljee had set up this restaurant in 1954. It was expanded in 1972 after which it became famous for Indian and continental food. The decision to close the building had come in 2018 after Baljees management lost the legal battle against the owner of the building, Lok Nath & Sons. The battle had started over operation charges for the building.

In 2015, the District and Sessions Court had ordered eviction. Later, the matter reached the state High Court where operation charges were hiked from Rs 18,000 to 1.35 lakh per month.  However, the owner was demanding. Then, the case reached the Supreme court, and then back to the High Court. Finally, in July 2018, Baljees management and Alok Nath & sons arrived at a mutual compromise. The management decided to evacuate the building and sought one year’s time to wind up its operation. This deadline ended today.   

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