May 19, 2018 12:32:25 am
A day after a probe report was submitted to the state government over the May 1 incident in Kasauli where a hotelier shot a woman town planning official and a PWD worker during a Supreme Court-ordered demolition drive, Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur Friday vowed action against police officers indicted in the report. Dinesh Malhotra, secretary, Youth Services and Sports, who was Divisional Commissioner (Shimla) when entrusted with the probe, had submitted his report to the government on Thursday, pointing out grave lapses by the police on the spot.
“The report is with us now. Very soon, I will be taking stock of its findings. I am not in haste, but action will definitely be taken,” the CM told The Indian Express. Asked what action he was contemplating, the CM said, “Within the next two days, the government will let you (media) know our response. First, I want an in-depth examination of the report.” He also rejected the police report submitted to the government earlier, which stated that the woman official, Shail Bala Sharma, had gone inside the Narayani Guest house owned by accused Vijay Singh uninformed and thus could not be protected.
“She was a co-coordinator of the drive, being the nodal head of Town and Country Planning (TCP). The police was duty bound to see she was not harmed in any manner. She was in a vulnerable situation. The police should have realised the gravity and ensured her safety,” Thakur said. “In the first place, two trouble-markers (owners facing action against their hotels), including accused Vijay Singh who had threatened to commit suicide, should have been arrested and all licensed weapons seized before starting the demolition drive,” the CM said.
He said the biggest lapse perhaps was that the accused fled the spot despite huge police deployment there. “This is a real bad reflection on the officers present. Though the accused was arrested later, the image of the police suffered and there was public anger mainly because of his daylight escape.”
The CM said he was not in favour of acting against junior police officials, but seniors must face the music. Thakur said while his government has named a school after Shail Bala Sharma, it was considering demands from her family members for a memorial at Kasauli for her. “I am not going to make any firm commitment on this, but rules will be studied,” he said.
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