Kotkhai rape-murder: Protests reach Shimla as people allege cover-up

Villagers staged a massive protest in Shimla even as government mulled strategies to tackle the public anger.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2017 16:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Kotkhai rape-murder,protest,Shimla
Locals protest at ridge near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Shimla on Saturday. (Deepak Sansta/HT Photo)

A day after the Virbhadra government handed the Kotkhai rape and murder case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), there was no letup in the public outrage against the “ botched-up “ investigation by the police.

Villagers staged a massive protest in Shimla even as government mulled strategies to tackle the public anger.

Left-backed Nagrik Sabha staged a demonstration outside the main square on the historic Mall road. Protesters marched three kms from Sanjauli town to the Mall road before gathering at the historic ridge near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

They were joined by students and others from the upper areas of the Shimla district before the protest culminated at the office of the deputy commissioner.

Demonstrators raised slogans against the police investigations and charged the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the police with shielding the “actual culprits”. The Nagrik Sabha demanded a probe by a sitting High Court judge. “We believe that attempts are being made to shield the actual culprits. The government has referred the matter to CBI, but the agency can only investigate. Since there are strong rumors that those involved are from influential families, they could further impact the investigations,” said Kuldeep Singh Tanwar, a member of CPIM’s state secretariat. “The government is in the grip of mafia. It is unable to control the deteriorating law and order situation in the state,” he alleged.

Protests politically motivated: CM
  • Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Saturday described the protests as political motivated.
  • “The parties backing the protests should be ashamed of themselves as they are politicising the issue. We have done whatever is possible to investigate the case. The matter has been referred to CBI,” said Virbhadra Singh, adding that those taking the law in their hands will be dealt with sternly.

The Nagrik Sabha also raised questions about governance, and said the recent rape and murder of a minor in Kotkhai has fuelled insecurity amongst the common man. Nagrik Sabha also referred to the murder of Hoshiyar Singh, a forest guard who was found hanging from a tree in Sundernagar sub-division in Mandi district.

The Citizens Forum also raised questions about Medh Ram, a resident of Baldiyan panchayat, who has been missing since last year.

The police on Saturday convened a high-level meeting to discuss strategies to control public anger. The angry mob had on Friday vandalised the police post and vehicles in Theog. Succumbing to public pressure, the government had referred the investigations to CBI.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 16:03 IST