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Rumours of Child-lifter Gangs in Himachal Continue to Create Panic, Leading to Unnecessary Violence

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Shimla-Rumours of child-lifter gangs in Himachal Pradesh has created panic among the public and are causing huge law and order trouble for the police. These rumours are leading to unnecessary violence. Several incidents have been reported from districts like Solan, Mandi, Bilaspur, Kangra etc. where some persons were rounded up by locals on the suspicion of being child-lifters. They were interrogated by mobs and thrashed brutally.

The fact that is most worrying is that people are taking law into their own hands instead of informing the police. In some other cities of India, such rumours have led to mob lynching of innocent people. Uttar Pradesh is the worst hit. The government is forced to invoke the National Security Act (NSA) to deter such incidents. Fortunately, no one has been lynched in Himachal so far. However, there are chances that soon someone would fall victim to angry and misguided mob.

In Jwalamukhi, a middle-aged couple was attacked by locals on the suspicion that they belonged to a child-lifter gang. In another incident, a minor made a fake complaint about his attempted kidnap. Later, the police investigation found that the minor did not want to go to school, so he spread a rumour about his own attempted kidnapping.

SP, Kangra, Vimukt Ranjan, confirmed that there is no child-lifter gang active in the region and advised people to not believe in rumours.

On August 23, three people including two males, who were impersonating as transgenders and roaming in Chailchowk bazaar of Gohar sub-division of Mandi district, were almost lynched by a mob. They were rounded up on the suspicious of being child-lifter. They were rescued by police. None of them belonged to any such gang, the police investigation found.

At the beginning of August, a man was caught by locals in Solan district and thrashed before handing him over to the police. On probing the matter, the police found that the man did not belong to any such gang and was stone-seller. He roamed in different localities and used to sell artificial gems. The Superintendent of Police, Solan, in a statement to media, had clarified that reports about child kidnapping gangs are a hoax and had requested the people to not believe them blindly.

In Hatwad area of Bilaspur district, two migrant labourers, who were going to market to buy vegetables, were also mistaken as child kidnappers and beaten publicly. Later, the district police found that these two people were merely migrant labourers. The police found that they were registered with the Hatwar panchayat as well as the local police station. Following it, the SP, Bilaspur, Sakshi Verma, had also issued a statement to media terming reports regarding child-lifter gang being active in the district as a hoax.

On August 27, in Dharampur of Mandi district, a woman carrying her child was mistaken by villagers as a child-lifter. She was also beaten before the police arrived. Following it, a rumour of child-lifter gang comprising of four to five members spread in the region and people began to search the villages and jungles.

As per a Hindi daily, during this search, a female teacher and two other males had a narrow escape from public thrashing as someone recognized them.

Though the police had issued a advisory to be vigilant and not leave children alone or with strangers, it has repeatedly rejected the reports of any child-lifter gangs being active in the region and requested the public to not take law into their own hands. However, Hindi dailies are also seen fuelling these rumours and challenging statements of the police. These rumours are mostly spread through fake videos or photos on social media showing people being beaten or detained by police for kidnapping children.

However, fact-checking of such videos and photos have revealed that the content of these multimedia is manipulated and attached with false information to fuel the rumours.

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal: 69 New COVID-19 Cases Including 27 from Solan, 10 from Shimla

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Shimla-The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday crossed the 2700 mark with the appearance of 69 new cases. These cases include two policeman, army personals, migrant labourers and some other locals.The number of active cases has now risen to 1115.

According to the State Health Department, Solan reported the highest 27 cases. Majority of these include workers in the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh (BBN) area and contacts of COVID-19 positive persons. Most of these 27 persons weren’t quarantined, which is a matter of concern.

The capital Shimla reported 10 cases, of which five were said to be migrant labourers in Rampur. Shimla city reported three cases including an employee of the General Post Office, Shimla. What’s worrying about this case is the fact that the sample of this woman was taken in flu OPD after she visited the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla. The woman has been mobile and used public transport too. Her travel history is yet to be traced. The CMO, Shimla, Surekha Chopra confirmed the report. There was no report regarding the sealing of the GPO or other places the woman had visited. But her residence at crowded Sanjauli locality was sealed. Two other cases were reported from Kasumpti and Bharari areas. Details regarding the remaining two were awaited. The COVID-19 case tally of Shimla has now reached 178 with two deaths.

Remaining cases were reported from Kangra (8), Chamba (4), Hamirpur (6), Mandi (11), Sirmaur (1), and Bilaspur (2).

So far, Solan has reported the highest 690 confirmed cases, followed by Kangra (476), Sirmaur (346), Hamirpur (313), Una (217), Shimla (178), Mandi (183), Bilaspur (101), Kinnaur (45), Kullu (37), and Lahaul-Spit (4).

HP Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin August 2, 2020 (9PM)

 New cases in Shimla

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity UG Admission Process Revised, No Entrance Exam, Seats to be Allotted on 10+2 Merit

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Solan-Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni has revised the admission process for its undergraduate programmes for the academic session 2020-21 in view of the COVID 19 pandemic. This year, the university will not be conducting an entrance test to fill the normal seats of UG programmes. The decision in this regard was taken during a special meeting of the Academic Council meeting held recently.

The basis of admission for normal seats would be merit drawn on basis of marks obtained at 10+2 level examination in four subjects-English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology/ Mathematics plus weightage of participation in sports/ NCC, NSS, scouting, co-curricular activities (if any). The university offers three undergraduate programmes B Sc (Hons) Horticulture, B Sc (Hons) Forestry while B Tech Biotechnology is offered only at the COH&F Neri. 

The candidates have been advised to download the counselling proforma from the university website and fill it as per the instructions mentioned on it. Those students who want to be considered for both normal as well as self-financing seats need to fill two separate proformas. A single page pdf file must be created, containing scanned filled counselling proforma along with legible documents mentioned in the checklist as provided in the counselling proforma. No column must be left blank. The counselling proforma for normal seats and self-financing seats will be uploaded on the university website on 3rd August (afternoon) and 5th August (afternoon) respectively.

For normal seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent through email to [email protected] on or before 18th August, 2020.

For self-financing seats: The scanned pdf file must be sent by email to [email protected] on or before 20th August, 2020. Every candidate must submit the duly filled counselling proforma in order to be considered for the admission. The detailed notification can be downloaded from the university website.

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Misc News/Press Release

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios Re-shuffle – Reward to Loyalists, Warning to Dissenting Voices Within Party

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Shimla: The portfolios of Himachal Pradesh Cabinet Ministers were re-shuffled extensively along with the induction of three new Ministers – Rakesh Pathania, Sukh Ram, and Rajinder Garg. Newly inducted Ministers in the HP Cabinet had taken the oath of office and secrecy in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan on July 30, 2020. 

Sukh Ram Chaudhary, MLA from Paonta Sahib Assembly constituency, Rakesh Pathania from Nurpur, and Rajinder Garg of Ghumarwin constituency took oath as Cabinet Minister.

While the shuffle is being justified by claiming that it was a punishment for not performing well, this opportunity has also been used to discourage dissent within the party and reward loyalists. Earlier governments have also re-shuffled portfolios during their reign, but not upto the extent it has been done this time.

Also Read: HP Cabinet’s Three Newly Inducted Ministers Take Oath

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur was heard warning ministers earlier regarding the possible changes, but the possible resentment did not allow it. However, the opportunity to fill up all positions in the Cabinet has also been used to re-shuffle portfolios of other ministers as well.

The Ministries of  Education, Forest, Health & Family Welfare, and Transport are some of the most important portfolios which have been shuffled. Further, the Chief Minister has decided to retain other important portfolios and all others that are not allocated to anyone.

HP Cabinet Minister Portfolios After Re-shuffle

Name

Ministry 

Departments 

Jairam Thakur Chief Minister Finance, General Administration, Home, Planning, Personnel, Public Works Department, Tourism, Excise & Taxation, All other departments not alloted to any other minister.
Mahender Singh Thakur Jal Shakti Minister Jal Shakti, Revenue, Horticulture, Sainik Welfare
Suresh Bhardwaj Urban Development Minister Urban Development, Town &Country Planning, Housing, Parliamentary Affairs, law & Legal Remembrance, Co-operation
Sarveen Chaudhary Social Justice & Empowerment   Social Justice & empowerment
Ram Lal markanda Technical Education Minister Technical Education, Vocational & Industrial Training, Tribal Development, Information Technology, Redressal ofPulbic Grievances
Virender kanwar Rural Development & panchayati Raj Minister Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries
Biram Singh Industries Minister Industries, Transport, Labour & Employment
Govind Singh Thakur Education Minister Higher Education, Elementary Education, Language, Art & Culture
Rajiv Saizal Health & Family Welfare Minister Health & Family Welfare, Ayurveda
Sukh Ram MPP & Power Minister MPP & Power, Non-Conventional Energy Sources
Rakesh Pathania Forest Minister Forest, Youth Services & Sports
Rajinder Garg Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Printing & Stationary

 

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