Even after the Himachal Pradesh government’s decision to hand over the rape and murder case of a Class X student to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), angry residents and students continued to protest and stage mass dharnas across Shimla and nearby towns like Solan on Saturday. Meanwhile, the state government Saturday formally wrote to the central government, informing its decision to hand over the case to CBI.
The students, belonging to SFI and ABVP, boycotted classes in colleges and took out a procession on Mall Road in Shimla. They later held a dharna at the Ridge to show their solidarity with the victim’s family. Normally, processions and dharnas are not permitted on Mall road and the Ridge. But students and activists marched together Saturday with placards, banners and posters. They also raised anti-police slogans. “The police have bungled up the investigation. The real culprits are still roaming free and they were being shielded by the police since they belong to well-to-do families. Only some labourers from Nepal and Uttarakhand have been booked by fabricating a false story. Till the victim’s family is satisfied with the investigations, the protests will continue,” said Latika, one of the protesters.
The student unions alleged that the government was forced to hand over the probe to the CBI following massive public outcry and protests at Theog and other towns. However, till the police arrest the real culprits and CBI starts investigations in a fair manner, the residents and students will not stop protesting. Meanwhile, left-wing organisation Shimla Nagrik Sabha also organised protests in the city. Vijendra Mehra, a Nagrik Sabha leader , accused the state government and the police of allegedly shielding the offenders. “There is complete deterioration of the law and order situation .The government has not been able to do justice to the victim’s family. Everyday , some new cases of murder come to light and the police fail to arrest the culprits,” he said.
Meanwhile, PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu admitted that the police had failed to do its job satisfactorily. “There has been some glaring laxity on the part of the police, which has made the residents very angry. The Congress and the state government want the accused to be punished for committing a gruesome crime,” he said. The SIT, which was investigating the case, has so far arrested six persons including the son of a leading orchardist and driver -cum-munshi (manager) of another Kotkhai orchardist. The other four arrested are labourers, two each from Nepal and Garahwal.