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Himachal assembly session: Kotkhai rape-murder case rocks House on Day 1

BJP’s chief whip Suresh Bhardwaj demanded a discussion on the Kotkhai rape and murder case and demanded that the House should also discuss the prevailing law and order situation in the state.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2017 19:14 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal Pradesh Assembly,Kotkhai rape-murder,Virbhadra Singh
Chief minister Virbhadra Singh during the first day of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha monsoon session, Shimla on Tuesday.(HT Photo )

The rape and murder of a 16-year-old student in Kotkhai tehsil of Shimla district in the first week of July, rocked the Himachal Pradesh Assembly on the first day of the ongoing session, on Tuesday. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded a discussion on the prevailing law and order situation in state.

Soon after the House paid homage to former Nahan legislator Sadanand Chauhan, BJP’s chief whip Suresh Bhardwaj inquired about the adjournment notice moved under rule 67. He demanded a discussion on the Kotkhai rape and murder case and demanded that the House should also discuss the prevailing law and order situation in the state.

In his speech, Bhardwaj repeatedly also referred to the photographs of the youth that were uploaded on the Facebook page of chief minister Virbhadra Singh, presenting them as accused, even though the police said it did not have any evidence to establish the same.

Intervening in matter, parliamentary affairs minister Mukesh Agnihotri mentioned that the case was subjudice and hence it cannot be taken up for discussion in the House. This however did not go down well with the Opposition legislators who later resorted to sloganeering in the House.

Speaker Brij Bihari Lal Butail informed the House that he did receive a notice from the Opposition and has referred the matter to the government for it’s consideration. “The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating the matter. You (Opposition legislators) should wait for its results,” he said.

Following this, BJP legislators got up from their seats and insisted the speaker to adjourn the House. Health minister Kaul Singh Thakur suggested that Congress and BJP legislators should consider discussing the matter under rule 130.

Arguing that the responsibility to protect the people rests with the government, leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal asked the speaker to facilitate the discussion. He also raised the pendency of various criminal cases in the state. Speaking on the mysterious death of forest guard Hoshiyar Singh in Sundernagar, Dhumal alleged that the investigation in the case has been “botched up”.

The House was briefly adjourned for 15 minutes. When it reassembled, Dhumal urged the speaker to take up discussion.

However, the proposal was rejected, following which the Opposition marched into the well of the House raising slogans against the government. Amid the sloganeering, the House was adjourned for the day.

Outside the House, Dhumal also blamed the government for the “breakdown” of law and order in the state. “The government has failed to curb murders, rapes, and other heinous crimes in the state,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Gudiya Nyay Manch that was constituted to seek justice for the Kotkhai victim will protest outside the Vidhan Sabha tomorrow.

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 19:14 IST