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Kinnaur Youth Missing for 8 Days After Scuffle with Sand Mafia, Suspicious Over Police Investigation, Locals Block NH, Demand CBI Inquiry

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Kinnaur Sonam Murder case

Kinnaur – Over the suspected murder of a youth in Kinnaur’s Pooh area following a scuffle with sand mafia, locals from several villages today blocked the traffic on the National Highway -5 near Powari. They demanded an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation expressing concern that some wealthy and powerful people involved in this case are influencing the police investigation as well as the district administration. They alleged that owing to his influence on the administrative level, tricks are being played to save the main culprit. The agitation went on for about four hours before the road could be opened for traffic after the ADC agreed to send a request to Home Ministry for a CBI inquiry.

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The case is related to Sonam Negi, a resident of Khab village of Namgya panchayat in Pooh area of Kinnaur district. On the night of September 7, 2019, Sonam had gone to Bhagat Nala on the banks of Sutlej river to fetch sand for the construction work of his building, which was ongoing. Three labourers accompanied him during this time. Some people were already present there, who were said to be related to the sand mafia. Over some matter, a brawl broke out between two parties. The three labourers reportedly fled the scene after the situation got ugly. One of the labourers informed the relatives of Sonam regarding the brawl.  The relatives informed the police.  

However, by the time the police arrived at the spot, only Sonam’s vehicle loaded with sand and a pair of sleepers were found. Since this incident, Sonam went missing. Next day, when the police and villagers visited the spot again, they found stains of blood on rocks. Based on these stains, they suspected that Sonam was murdered and thrown into Sutlej.

Father of Sonam, Praksah Chand, filed a complained at the Pooh Police Station suspecting a murder. He also named some of the locals. However, the slow pace of investigation agitated the villagers who protested outside Pooh Police station for two days.  As per local sources, enraged villagers of about eight villages had gheraoed the Pooh Police station. The locals believed that some influential people including some contractors were involved in the case and that they were affecting the investigation.

Following the protests, the police arrested nine people in relation to the case after three days. A case was filed against all the accused under Section 302, 364, 341 and 34 of IPC. The police had taken all accused on a five-day remand on September 10. The report was confirmed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Kinnaur, Vipin Kumar.  He had also confirmed that the police was questioning the accused.

The remand period was ending today, however, still the police could not trace missing Sonam after eight days of his disappearance. The locals today showed distrust in local police and district administration and blocked the National Highway -5 demanding a CBI inquiry.

The enraged locals warned the administration that more people would join the protest if justice is not delivered to the victim. The villagers ended the agitation and opened the road only after the ADC assured that a request would be forwarded to the Home Ministry seeking a CBI enquiry and a search operation would be launched by the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) to find missing Sonam.

Local sources also suggested that villagers from more regions in the district were planning a massive protest.

Misc News/Press Release

COVID-19: Himachal Crosses 200 Mark as 18 More Test Positive  

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COVID-19 cases in Himachal Pradesh on may 24

Shimla– On Sunday, Himachal Pradesh reported 18 new COVID-19 positive cases from different districts. According to the official statistics released by the health department on May 24, 2020, the total for the State had risen to 203 from yesterday’s 185.

Una district reported six cases including a home-guard personal was also tested positive. They had recently returned from Mumbai and Delhi.

Kangra reported two cases from Panchrukhi area, while Chamba, Bilaspur, Solan and Mandi reported one case each. Hamirpur reported two cases.

District-Wise COVID-19 Cases Till May 24, 2020 (9:00 PM)

HP District wise cases on May 24, 2020

In Mandi, a 19-year-old girl was tested positive. She had returned from Mumbai and was under institutional quarantine in Sandhol.

The person tested positive in Chamba has also returned from Mumbai.

Details of some of the patients were not available.

Further, four people have recovered. As of now, the State has 137 active cases. 

Daily COVID-19 Data of Himachal Pradesh on may 24

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News of Sealing Himachal’s Borders from May 31st  Fake, Movement of People to Continue: Govt

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Fake News of sealing of Himachal borders from may 31

Shimla- A news item is being circulated in the social media claiming that borders of the Himachal Pradesh would be sealed from 31st May 2020 and the people coming from other parts of the country would be kept in institutional quarantine at borders.

Some of the mainstream media has also been mentioning that the Chief Minister has hinted at sealing State borders from May 31st, which caused panic and unrest among people stranded in other states. In a haste, they began to arrange transportation before May 31st.

However, it’s just a fake news. An official spokesman of the state government confirmed today that this news is false, fabricated and devoid of facts.

The Spokesman said that there will be no sealing of borders of the State and movement of the people would continue but passes will be required as per current practice for all inter-state movement of persons and vehicles.

The state government has urged the people not to trust such fake news and there is no need for panic as the State has no such plans.

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Barber Shops/Saloons in Shimla Allowed to Open, List of Several Mandatory Conditions Issued With Strict Directions

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Guidelines for Barbaer shops in Himachal Pradesh 2

Shimla-As a relief to barbers and saloons in Himachal Pradesh, the State Cabinet on May 23 decided to allow them to open from Monday onwards on several conditions. In this regard, the District Administration, Shimla, has already issued several mandatory guidelines under the Section 34 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, which the staff at barber shops/saloons would have to follow while providing service to customers.  Any violation of these guidelines would be punishable as per the laws.  Also, training was given to over 150 stylists/barbers in the district on what to do and what not during delivering services.

First of all, shops/salons would have to give an undertaking to the DC stating that they do not have any flu-like symptoms, have no travel history during the last 14 days, and did not come in contact with a COVID-19 positive person.

The hair-dressers would be allowed to give a hair cut only. Shaving, threading, etc. would not be permitted.

Every service provider will have to register each and every customer in a format provided by the District Administration. The staff will have to obtain information regarding every customer including name, age, gender, address, mobile number, and status of installation of Arogya Setu app, symptoms of flu with the date and registration number.

Customers with cough, fever or symptoms of breathing problems won’t be allowed to avail services of astylist/barber. Similarly, the staff showing the same symptoms is not allowed to provide service.

While it would be mandatory for a customer to wear a triple-layered mask, the stylist/barber would have to wear disposable cap and gloves in addition to a triple-layered mask.

Hand sanitizer containing at least 70 percent alcohol should be available at shops/saloons and hands of every customer would have to be sanitized on entry.  

Barbers/stylist can only use disposable towel/gowns or apron, and gloves. They would have to discard them after use and wear new ones. Staff would have to open the packaging of a new apron in the presence of a customer.

After serving a customer, the shops/saloons would have to sanitize every tool/device used and door handles, service counter, chairs, railings and everything that comes in contact with a customer. They will have to wipe floors twice in day–in the morning and evening-with a sanitizer containing at least one percent sodium hydrochloride or lizol. After using them every time, tools must be first washed and then sanitized with a sanitizer containing 70 percent alcohol.  

Staff can’t use tools/devices like hairdryer trimmer etc. which can’t be washed and sanitized.

The staff has been asked to refrain from walk-in service to prevent gathering to ensure social distancing. The customers will have to book an appointment online or telepathically. The owners would have to display phone/WhatsApp numbers outside their shops/saloons.

Only one customer would be allowed to enter at a time unless there are six or more chairs in a saloon.

There would be no waiting area and magazines, newspapers or other reading material. The staff has been directed to keep the conversation with customers to the minimum. Also, they can only converse while looking in the mirror and not directly.

Further, barbers/stylists would have to stick to the rate list with fixed charges for a service.

Further, the officials of the district administration have been asked to monitor the functioning of such shops/saloons and file a report daily. It is to be seen as to how the district administration makes barbers/saloons follow this long list of mandatory conditions. 

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