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A day after Assistant Town Planner Shail Bala was shot dead on May 1 by guest house owner Vijay Singh with his licensed weapon during a Supreme Court-ordered demolition drive of illegal constructions, Solan District Magistrate Vinod Kumar issued an order directing the affected hotel owners and any staff working there to “deposit their firearms, weapons and ammunition at the nearest police stations immediately”.
However, it took four days for the police to act as policemen showed up at the hotels on Saturday, asking the owners of 13 hotels and guest houses to deposit the licensed weapons, while citing the May 2 order of the Solan DM.
Policemen reached the hotels with the order from the police station concerned, which was addressed to hotel owner/
manager. An order from Kasauli police station, dated May 5, directed the four hotels falling in the jurisdiction to deposit licensed firearms at Kasauli police station to prevent any untoward incident while implementing the demolition ordered by the Supreme Court.
Solan Additional District Magistrate Vivek Chandel told Chandigarh Newsline over phone on Saturday evening that licensed weapons relating to three hotels had been deposited thus far. Chandel when asked said he, off hand, did not have details about how many hotel owners and staff had arms licences.
The order by the Solan DM under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code on May 2 referred to the death of Shail Bala in the “firing incident” and injury to a labourer Gulab Singh and further read “…for further smooth implementation of the aforesaid [Supreme Court] orders, it is of utmost importance to maintain public peace and tranquillity and provide a safe and secure environment to field officials in implementing these orders on ground, so that any such incident does not recur.”
The order was issued for territorial jurisdiction of Patwar Circle Dharampur, Kasauli, Chamiya and Garkhal and also prohibited any person residing in these areas from carrying any kind of firearms and ammunition.
The order said it would remain in force for two months.
Chandel, meanwhile, said the demolition drive was on and in some hotels, it had reached an advanced stage of completion.