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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.”

Himachal Watcher is Himachal Pradesh based non-funded and independent Online Regional English Magazine

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HP Govt Makes RT-PCR Negative Report Mandatory for People Arriving from Seven States

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entry of tourists in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Tourist movement to Himachal Pradesh is likely to get hit during the peak season as the state government has made it mandatory for people of seven high load states viz. Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh need to carry 72-hour prior RT-PCR negative report while visiting the State. The restriction would apply after April 16th.

The decision came after Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who had been insisting that there would be no restriction on tourist movement to avert economic losses to the tourism industry, held a review meeting amid a massive surge in new cases and deaths.  

The state government has decided to allow tourists to visit the State, but at the same time, hotel owners and tourists should strictly adhere to the SoPs, Chief Minister said.

“The virus was spreading at a fast pace which was the biggest concern. During the last 45 days, the State has reported 10,690 new covid cases. 120 deaths were reported in the State during the last 45 days,” he said.

Over 900 new cases with 12 fatalities were reported on Saturday only.  On Sunday, according to the Health Department’s daily update, the state recorded 512 new cases. 

Pertinent to mention that Maharastra, Delhi and a few other states had been suggesting that a complete lockdown could be imposed if the high rate of resurgence continued in the coming days.

Though the Chief Minister had been maintaining that lockdown would be the last resort, the tone appears to be changing with the worsening of the COVID-19 situation.

Further, laying stress on twin strategy for testing, tracing and treatment with effective surveillance of micro containment zones, Chief Minister said that greater emphasis must also be laid on RT-PCR tests to achieve the target of 70 percent RT-PCR tests.

He said that the State Health Department must also take steps to increase bed capacity to meet out any eventuality.

Meanwhile, no restriction has been put on the devotees visiting various temples in the State during the Navratri festival.

The government said no overcrowding would be allowed in buses and other public transport and private vehicles. Wearing face masks even in vehicles must be enforced strictly.

Chief Minister, who faced widespread criticism over violation of SOPs during the political campaigning for elections to the Municipal Corporations, blamed laxity shown by the people for a sharp resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the State.  

 

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Himachal Pradesh: 662 New Cases & 7 Deaths in 24 Hours, Over 4500 Cases & 55 Deaths in 9 Nine Days

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 report

Shimla– The number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in Himachal Pradesh was reported to be 662 and seven respectively on Friday till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest 165 new cases and four fatalities, while Sirmaur, Shimla, and Mandi recorded one fatality each.

View details of COVID-19 deaths below:

Daily covid 19 deaths

Source: HP NHM

Solan followed Kangra district with 132 new cases.

Find district-wise details of new cases below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

Source: HP NHM

The COVID-19 case and death tallies have now reached 68173 and 1090 respectively. In April, the state has recorded a huge surge in cases. In the nine days of this month, the state has recorded 4568 new cases and 55 COVID-19 deaths – a rate of more than six deaths per day.

The state government today reviewed the situation in its Cabinet meeting and expressed concern. However, no restrictive measures were taken except extending the closure of all educational institutes till April 21.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort.

Further, the state government today said that to make vaccination people’s movement, 11th to 14th April may be celebrated as ‘Teeka Utsav’.

The government said that the biggest matter of concern was that the virus was spreading at a fast pace. In addition to this, the number of death has also increased rapidly. All the districts have been advised to enhance their capacity be it bed capacity, quarantine capacity and medical equipment capacity etc.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that strict action must also be taken against those involved in gross violation of SOPs. He said that the hoteliers must also strictly follow the SOPs so that the State Government may not be forced to take action. He said that laxity shown by the people has resulted in sharp resurgence of Covid cases in the State.

It’s pertinent to mention that during the campaigning for the elections to Municipal Corporations, all parties and their leaders including the Chief Minister violated all SOPs without attracting any action. The parties also faced criticism for ignoring public health for the sake of political interests, thus, setting wrong examples for the public.  

Feature Image: Pexels@polina-tankilevitch

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Educational Institutes Closed Till April 21 Amid COVID-19 Surge, No Decision on Other Restrictions

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HP Cabinet decision on curfew

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today held a meeting in which it expressed concern over the sharp surge in Covid-19 cases in the State. The Cabinet decided to keep all educational institutions closed till April 21. The institutes would also remain closed for teaching and non-teaching staff except the staff required for exam duties till the 21st of this month.

A decision was taken to fill up 311 posts of Forest Guards in the Forest Department on a contract basis through direct recruitment. These include already approved 113 posts of Forest Guards by the State Cabinet during its meeting held on 9th of March this year.   

The Cabinet decided to fill up 25 posts of Agriculture Development Officers on a contract basis in Agriculture Department through HP Public Service Commission against direct recruitment quota. 

It decided to implement the central sector scheme SVAMITVA in the state for surveying the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using Drone technology. For this, Revenue Department would be designated as the Nodal Department for implementation of the scheme with the support of the Panchayati Raj Department. For this, MoU would be signed with the Survey of India for starting the scheme in the State. A State Steering Committee, State Project Management Unit and District Project Monitoring Unit would also be constituted for effective implementation of the scheme.

The cabinet also gave its nod to extend employment on compassionate ground to the eligible indigent of the deceased employees against available vacant posts of Class-III and Class-IV in relaxation of five percent quota as against the available vacant posts of class-III and Class-IV in DC offices of Shimla, Kinnaur, Solan and Kangra and office of Settlement Officer Kangra Division.  

It also gave its consent that the project for the development of multi-storey parking-cum-shopping complex at U-Block Mandi may be awarded under PPP mode to the highest bidder at an annual concession fee of Rs. 63,63,000 plus GST and all other applicable taxes per annum, as per terms and conditions of RFP. The selected bidder would also pay an upfront premium of Rs. 2 crores to the authority by way of five equal instalments of Rs. 40 lakh each for 24 months starting from the compliance date.

The cabinet also gave its approval for the creation of five posts of different categories for each newly created Nagar Panchayats viz Shahpur, Chirgaon, Nerwa, Nirmand, Anni, Kandaghat and Amb for smooth functioning of these newly created Nagar Panchayats.

Presentations were also made before the Cabinet by Jal Shakti Department on the prevailing drought situation in the State. It was decided to hold a review meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister including all the stakeholder departments for further decisions.

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