Kotkhai rape: Govt orders CBI probe after crowd vandalises police vehicles
People from different walks of life in Kotkhai and Chopal assembly segment had begun to assemble in Theog where the police had to produce in court the six accused arrested in the rape case.Updated: Jul 17, 2017 14:31 IST
Succumbing to public pressure, the Himachal government on Friday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the gangrape and murder of a minor at Kotkhai. Earlier, a mob vandalized police vehicles outside the Theog police station this morning. Calling the six arrests made yesterday an eyewash, the violent crowd was demanding a CBI probe.
With elections around the corner, the outrage also took a political colour with some BJP leaders staging a protest at the Kotkhai police station.
The SIT, headed by IG southern range, Zahoor Zaidi, set up after public protests had yesterday claimed to have cracked the case with the arrest of six persons—Ashish Chauhan, 29, Rajinder Singh 32, Subash Singh Bisht, 42, Surat Singh (a Nepali labourer), 29, Lok Jan, another 19-year-old Nepali and Deepak, a resident of Pauri Grahwal.
The arrested were taken to Shimla’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital for medical checkup under heavy police cordon. However, an angry crowd roughed them up. “Agitated at seeing them in the hospital, a woman threw her slipper on them,” said a doctor at the hospital.
Government orders on CBI probe followed angry protests in Theog where the protesters vandalised police vehicles.
Earlier in the morning, people from different walks of life in Kotkhai and Chopal assembly segment had begun to assemble in Theog where the police had to produce in court the six accused arrested in the rape case.
Soon, the large crowd that had gathered near the famous “potato” ground of Theog, 35 kms from Shimla, became restive and took to the roads, blocking the main national highway connecting Kalka to the Sino-India border point Kauirik.
The mob also raised slogans against the government and the cops. Roshan Lal, a resident of Sainj in Chopal, summed up the sentiments of many when he said, “Those arrested by the police are not the ones actually involved in the crime; this is just a whitewash. The police are trying to hush up the case.”
The angry mob was marching towards the police station in search of the six men arrested yesterday when the police tried to stop them. It was then that they vandalised the police vehicles. Superintendent of Police, Shimla, D.W Negi, was also manhandled by youngsters in the mob who objected to photojournalists taking pictures.
Seeing the widespread anger, the police officials present there refrained from pacifying the people. Later, they called for additional force from Shimla to control the crowd.
Meanwhile, Neelam Seraikh, a Zila Parishad member and some BJP leaders, staged a protest at the Kotkhai police station. “If the police had to arrest four non-Himachalis for their involvement in crime, they could have done it before. I wonder why those arrested by the police did not go into hiding after committing the crime,” charged Seraikh, pooh-poohing the police claims of a breakthrough in the case.
A GIRL WHO DREAMT BIG
The 16-year-old had dreamt of achieving something big in life. Born into a family registered as Below Poverty Line (BPL) at Shirguli village, she was the youngest of six siblings. After her entire class at Balson senior secondary school failed to clear the Class X exam, she along with a few friends shifted to Mahasu school on May 6. Gudiya was very regular at school and was even rewarded for her sincerity.
Unlike other days, on July 4, Gudiya went to school with her elder brother. But she left school before time, telling her friends that she had to reach home early. Police sources say, on her way back, the driver of the vehicle, Rajendra Singh, offered her a lift to her village, nearly five kms from the school. But Rajendra Singh had five more people in the vehicle, who the police claim were in an inebriated condition. The drunken men reportedly pulled her out of the vehicle and took turns to rape her before strangulating her to death.
Gudiya wanted to live. The autopsy shows she fought hard to get away but her assailants got the better of her. The report by Indira Gandhi Medical College Hospital confirmed that Gudiya was subjected to brutalities before she breathed her last. She had bruises and bite marks all over her body.
“This is so tragic, for Gudiya wanted to achieve something big in life,” her brother-in-law Kushal Hemta told HT over phone.
What led to the public outrage were her pictures that went viral after her naked body was recovered from a ditch in Dhandi forest. “The gory pictures were all over the social networking sites and the news spread like wild fire,” says Govind Ram, a resident of Gumma in Kotkhai.