June 12, 2018 6:57:32 pm
Authorities have asked hoteliers in Himachal tourist hub McLeodganj to deposit their licensed weapons with the police to ensure that government workers are safe during a drive against illegal structures.
The unusual direction follows a shooting last month at a similar demolition drive in Kasauli, where a hotelier allegedly killed assistant town planner Shail Bala Sharma and PWD employee Gulab Singh.
Kangra Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kumar has now issued a notification under section 144 of the Indian Penal Code, asking hotel owners and their staff in McLeodganj to deposit their firearms so that a Supreme Court-ordered demolition drive is conducted smoothly.
The IPC section bans joining an unlawful assembly with a weapon. A violation can lead up to two years in prison.
The DC has asked hoteliers in Mcleodganj and neighbouring Bhagsunag, Dharamkot and Naddi areas to act immediately. He said illegal construction was already being cleared as directed by the Supreme Court.
The step was being taken to maintain law and order and to prevent an incident like the one in Kasauli, Kumar said.
Shail Bala Sharma was supervising the demolition of unauthorised construction at Kasauli’s Narayani guest house on May 1, when its owner Vijay Singh allegedly shot her. Public Works Department employee Gulab Singh succumbed to his gunshot injures later.
The Kangra DC said the firearms shall be kept in safe custody at McLeodganj police station till the next orders.
There are around 140 illegal constructions in Dharamshala, officials said. Some hoteliers have started demolishing their illegal structures on their own. The water and power connections of such hotels have already been disconnected, discouraging tourists.
Upper Dharamshala Hotel Association general secretary Sanjeev Gandhi said the arrival of tourists this season is much reduced.
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