Heinous rape & murder of school girl, allegations of police cover-up rock Himachal

The heinous rape and murder of a minor girl in Kotkhai’s Haliala village, 60 kilometers from Shimla and the sham played out by the police in the name of investigation has invoked massive protests from the people of the district particularly in Theog, Kotkhai and Shimla.

The girl’s naked body was recovered from a forest two days after she went missing from school on her way back home on the 4th of July. The uniform of the girl was also found near the spot and her body seemed to have been dumped there after committing the crime, raising several questions.

Courtesy: https://himachalwatcher.com

The police claimed to have cracked the case and  arranged for a press conference where the state DG and the the IG of the special investigation team revealed the name of 2 Nepalese labourers, two people from Uttarakhand and 2 from Shimla and Mandi who were arrested after interrogating 88 people through the phone records.

Only one local guy named Ashish Chauhan was named as an accomplice by the police raising doubts about the whole investigation. Why the alleged culprits did not flee the crime scene even 2 days after the the crime and waited for their arrests cast serious doubts on the police investigation.

It was only yesterday on the 14th of July when massive protests erupted in Theog, 40 kilometers from Shimla and people blocked NH 22 to vent their ire against the police for carrying out a sham investigation and hoodwinking the public, that the CM took a decision to hand over the investigation to the CBI.

Massive protests at Theog over brutal rape and murder of school girl; Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times

It is pertinent to note that Mr Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister of the State, holds the home portfolio and the police department is under his direct control. A couple of days back, the official page of Mr. Singh had published photographs of the suspects, believed to be the real culprits, which were later withdrawn, raising eyebrows.

The whole incident has cast serious aspersions on the working of the state police apart from tarnishing the image of the CM who is directly responsible for the working of the police, being in charge of the home portfolio.

Letter from HP’s CM Virbhadra Singh from Congress, requesting the PM for a CBI enquiry into brutal rape and murder of schoolgirl

Apparently the perpetrators of this horrendous crime, whom the police tried to protect, are inhabitants of nearby villages in Kotkhai and obviously rich and influential. Why did the SIT (special investigation team ) of the police headed by an IG rank officer and constituted by the CM  indulge in a sham investigation, making Gorkha labourers as scapegoats, is the question on everyone’s mind.

The dereliction of duty by senior police officers under political pressure or some allurement is a serious matter and needs to be investigated threadbare by the CBI. For now, the public confidence and trust in the police and the administration of the State lies severely dented and shattered.

And now in a bizarre turn of events, just 2 days after the State police claimed to have cracked the case which led to public outrage and the handing over of the case to the CBI by the Chief Minister, the police have rounded up 2 suspects who are believed to be the real culprits and whose photographs were initially published from the official page of the CM before being deleted citing hacking as the reason. When the police knew all along the identity of the culprits, why was it shielding them all these days going even to the extent of organising a DG level press conference which was just a hogwash?

CM Virbhadra Singh first uploaded the photos of 4 suspects, then hastily deleted. Image Source: https://himachalwatcher.com

Now when the skeletons were about to be pulled out from the police closet, they nab the real culprits fearing the CBI. Did money exchange hands or the police acted under political pressure? In both scenarios the image of the State Government and the State Police lies badly battered and bruised.


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About the Author

Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine