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Kotkhai Custodial Death Case: 6 Witnesses Record Statements, IG Zaidi Was Present at Crime Scene, Confirms His Driver

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update on Kotkhai Custodial Killing case

Shimla-In Kotkhai custodial death case, statements of six more witnesses were recorded during the hearing on Tuesday. The case is linked to the alleged custodial killing of Suraj – one of the five accused arrested in rape and murder of a 16-year-old in Kotkhai in July 2017. The Central Bureau of Investigation had later arrested nine police officials for this alleged custodial killing.

On Tuesday, as a crucial revelation, the driver of then Inspector General of Police (Southern Range) Zahur H Zaidi, told the court that he was with the accused from July 11 to July 13, 2017. He confirmed that he took Zaidi to the spot where the body of the rape victim was lying on July 11. Later, the driver said he took Zaidi to Kotkhai Police Station and then to the Guest House of Public Works Department in the afternoon.

Five accused were also kept at the HPPWD guest house illegally after their arrest. It’s pertinent to mention that during the last hearing in the case on August 16, 2017, two villagers, Prashant Negi and Ishan, had given statements that they were illegally detained and kept at the said guest house. They had also told the court that they were brutally beaten, kept naked, and given third-degree torture between July 11 and July 13. These two CBI witnesses had identified Zaidi and then SP DW Negi and other police officials who were present during this time.

Further, statement of Dr Abhishek Asthul, one of the five doctors who also recorded their statements, in his statement, said that SHO Rajinder had brought in Suraj’s body at the at Kotkhai civil hospital. The SHO had told him that Suraj fell unconscious during a scuffle in the lock-up. Dr Asthul confirmed that Suraj had no pulse and was declared brought dead.

Prior it, two doctors- Amit Chauhan and Sungeesh Chauhan- had recorded their statements in the court. They had told the court that four accused had no injury marks on their body prior to July 17, 2017 when they were brought for medical examination. However, injury marks were found on their body on July 25 and 27 July, which indicated beating and torture.  

Officials from the Forensic Lab and other witnesses including a policeman had also supported the theory of CBI while recording their statements.

There are a total of 60 witnesses in the case and statements of about 20 witnesses have already been recorded. Majority of the witnesses have supported the prosecution’s theory.

Zaidi and DW Negi were granted bail in 2019 after they had pleaded that the CBI is taking to long to provide any substantial evidence of their involvement in the custodial death of Suraj. Later, the CBI had pleaded in the court to shift the hearing of the case from H.P High Court to Delhi High Court for expeditious disposal. The apex court had transferred the case to Chandigarh. 

Misc News/Press Release

Schools in Himachal to Open With 50% Staff  for Students of 9th to 12th Classes

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Himachal Pradesh Schools Opening

Shimla: After lifting all restriction on entry into Himachal Pradesh in the previous Cabinet meeting, today the state government also gave nod to re-open schools from September 21, 2020. The decision was taken in a meeting of HP Cabinet held on September 18, 2020, in Shimla. 

Only those educational institutions would be opened which are outside containment zones. Schools would be opened as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it was informed.

Also Read: Himachal: No E-Pass, No COVID-19 Negative Report, No Registration Needed to Enter State

Only fifty per cent teaching and non-teaching staff would attend students from 9th to 12th standard, provided the students are willing to take guidance from the teachers, the government informed. The students would be able to visit their teachers for guidance, but it won’t be mandatory to come to schools.

Also, written consent of the parents or guardians of the students has been made mandatory.

It is speculated that there are bleak chances of opening primary schools this year as the community spread is in its initial phase and would be wreaking havoc in upcoming months. Himachal Pradesh has reported over 400 cases with 12 deaths today only.  

It would mean a huge loss in terms of education. There are several other obstacles and issues which make online classes for students of primary classes a difficult and less efficient mode of education. Imparting education amid the COVID-19 pandemic has become a challenging task for the state government.

Further, the Cabinet gave its approval to start BSc (Hons.) in Forestry in Government College for Forestry and Horticulture, Thunag in Mandi district from the academic session 2020-21.

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Himachal: Seven COVID-19 Deaths, 395 New Cases in a Day

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Himachal pradesh corona deaths

Shimla-On Thursday, Himachal Pradesh reported 395 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection. Seven fresh casualties were reported, taking the COVID-19 death tally in the state to 96. According to the official Bulletin released by the Health Department for September 17, 2020 (9 PM), the total for the state has risen to 11190, of which 4145 are active cases and 6919 had recovered.  

Seven fatalities also included a 14-year-old male from Shimla. He was a patient of Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Remaining six aged between 50-82 years.  As per the Health Department’s official Bulletin, all seven patients had pre-existing medical conditions like Diabetes Mellitus, severe Sepsis, severe ARDS, Hypertension etc.  

Details of COVID-19 Fatalities on September 17 (till 9 PM)

covid-19 deaths in himachal pradesh on september 17, 2020-

Among Thursday’s cases, Sirmaur reported the highest 82 cases, followed by Kangra (76), Mandi (70), Solan (49), Una (38), Shimla (30), Lahaul-Spiti (15), Kullu (13), Bilaspur (12), Chamba (7), and Hamirpur (3).

Further, Solan has reported the highest number of cases (2525), and Kangra district has reported the highest number of casualties (20), followed by Solan (18), and Shimla (17).

For more statistics from all districts, view the table given below:

Himachal Pradesh-september 17, 2020, covid-19 update

Several media persons complained that the Health Officials have even stopped taking their calls and release required information. The Chief Minister, in today’s Vidhan Sabha session, compared fatality rate of Himachal Pradesh (0.8%) with the national rate (1.64%) and states having larger population like Punjab (2.8%). He claimed the state government was comfortable with the situation and rising number of cases. He said five make-shift COVID-19 hospitals, which are yet to be established, would take care of the rise in cases.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur today patted his own back by releasing an e-book “Sewa Hi Sangathan” brought out by the State BJP.

In this book, BJP has claimed that various initiatives and steps were taken by the party to effectively tacking the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister also termed the “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” as a success and went on to say that it has stabilized rural economy of the country and the State during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defending the decision to lift all restrictions on inter-state movement of people, including tourists, amid a community spread, he termed it a necessary step to revive the state economy. In a way, the government has made it clear that the people would have to learn to live with COVID-19.

Feature Image: [email protected]

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Himachal: 460 New COVID-19 Cases with One More Death, Situation to Worsen as State Borders Open for All

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday reported a single-day spike of 460 COVID-19 cases with one death, confirmed the state Health Department. According to the latest update (9 PM), Solan district (117) had reported the highest number of cases. Remaining cases were reported from Kangra (92), Mandi (58), Shimla (51), Lahaul-Spiti (46), Una (31), Kinnaur (14), Sirmaur (14), Bilaspur (13), Chamba (12), Kullu (8), and Hamirpur (4).

The COVID-19 tally has now reached 10795, of which 4146 are active, 6531 recovered, and 89 died.

HP Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin for September 15, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh daily covid19 update september 16

The number is likely to witness a huge surge as the state government has removed all restrictions on the inter-state movement of people. No permission or registration of any sorts is required to enter the state. Tourists won’t need to present a COVID-19 report and advance booking to enter the state. At the time of the writing, a large number of tourists and other people had already entered the state as the borders were opened today evening.

Also Read: No E-Pass, No COVID-19 Negative Report, No Registration Needed to Enter State

Tourists are happy with the decision. According to a media report, earlier tourists reaching state borders without registration were being tricked to pay Rs. 300 to register and enter the state.  It was later that they found out that registration process was free of any charges. 

Inter-state bus services are also expected to resume operation soon.

Feature Image: unsplash/@sonance

 

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