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Set up special court for trial: panel chief
Throwing of acid on college girl
Shimla, July 16
Demanding the setting up of a special court to ensure speedy justice in the acid-throwing incident on college girl Ishita, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), Dr Poornima Advani, today raised serious questions about the initial slackness shown by the police and societal apathy, at the time of the incident.

Ms Poornima Advani, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, addresses a press conference Ms Poornima Advani, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women, addresses a press conference in Shimla on Friday. — Photo by Anil Dayal

CM discriminating against Kangra: BJP
Palampur, July 16
Mr Ravinder Thakur, a former minister and BJP MLA from Thural constituency, said that Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, had been extending step-motherly treatment to the people of lower areas of the state, particularly Kangra district. He said in present political scenario the Congress had made Kangra district “no man’s baby”.

Man kills son, poisons himself to death
Mandi, July 15
Thakur Das, a resident of Chandiyal, allegedly killed his 13-year-old son, Narotam (Bholu), and then poisoned himself to death at Balh jungle in Sundernagar, 20 kms from here today.



YOUR TOWN
Hamirpur
Kangra
Mandi
Shimla
Solan
Una


EARLIER STORIES

 

3 killed in bus mishap
Una, July 16
Three persons were killed and 46 injured when a private bus going from Pirnigaha shrine in the district to the Baba Balak Nath shrine in Hamirpur district fell into a 100-foot gorge in Bihru village today.

College students appoint two teachers!
Solan, July 16
In an unprecedented move, which besides causing embarrassment to the state government and exposing its claim of not compromising with the education, students of the local government degree college peeved at non-appointment of a mathematics lecturer for the past over a year have themselves appointed a teacher.

Buffalo sacrificed to appease goddess
Mandi, July 16
Chained by devotees, a young well-bred buffalo is dragged into the temple amid the beats of drums. Then come the ‘human incarnates’ of Devi Hidimba, Manali’s presiding deity and her guest devtas, shivering in trance and bless the devotees.

Panic over jaundice outbreak
Hamirpur, July 16
Jaundice is spreading fast in the Naryah gram panchayat area of the Nadaun revenue sub-division of Hamirpur district. As many as 19 students of Nauhngi school, who are afflicted by the disease are being treated at various hospitals of the region.

Crime in Shimla worries Dhumal
Shimla, July 15
Mr P.K. Dhumal, the former Chief Minister, has expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and said the failure to nab the boys who threw acid on a college girl in daylight only reflected the incompetence and laxity on the part of the police.

Rajput-sabha softens its stand on ministers’ issue
Kangra, July 16
The Rajput Kalayan Sabha of Himachal Pradesh has softened its stand over the issue of the dropping of the three ministers of the district which include two ministers of the community. The sabha said it was hopeful that the Chief Minister would consider their demand and reinduct them into the Cabinet.

BJP leader demands White Paper on projects
Hamirpur, July 16
Mr Rajendra Rana, BJP joint media in charge, today demanded a White Paper from the state government on the projects procured and completed during Congress rule in 2003. He claimed that projects worth several hundred crores had been completed during the BJP regime.
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Set up special court for trial: panel chief
Throwing of acid on college girl
Tribune News Service

Government College students block traffic
Government College students block traffic at Sanjouli Chowk, Shimla, on Friday in protest against police inaction in the acid attack case. — Photo by A
nil Dayal

Shimla, July 16
Demanding the setting up of a special court to ensure speedy justice in the acid-throwing incident on college girl Ishita, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), Dr Poornima Advani, today raised serious questions about the initial slackness shown by the police and societal apathy, at the time of the incident.

Addressing a press conference here today after meeting Ishita, who sustained severe burns after some youths threw acid on her, Dr Advani said the state government should constitute a special court so that the case was heard on a daily basis and the culprits were punished at the earliest. “Though the police and other agencies are at the job, seeing the seriousness of the matter this must be done in a time -bound framework so that there is no repeat of such a serious offence,” she stressed.

“Another grey area which I still fail to understand is the delay on the part of the police in ordering a nakabandi which, if done on time, could have prevented the territorial escape of the culprits,” she quipped. She also felt that instead of just having the case under Section 307, IPC, the police must add the Section of grievous injury as Ishita had suffered serious disfiguration of the head and neck.

“I do believe that the police is committed but what it needs to show is results as even after five days of the incident, it has not been able to get to the culprits,” she said. “I was pained to hear that the police had raised some questions about Ishita’s character, which is very unfortunate as the police is not the upholder of anybody’s character and is duty-bound to do its job,” she stressed.

Dr Advani, who interacted with college students, said there was a sense of insecurity among girls and a helpline should be started. “It is not the physical pain which is bothering Ishita, but the societal apathy as even while lying on the hospital bed, she keeps lamenting that out of the almost 100 onlookers, not a single person came forward with help,” regretted Dr Advani. “There is definitely a need for an enhanced sensitivity as there was omission on the part of society,” she added.

The NCW Chairperson further said in Ishita’s case, relief should be exemplary as she would have to undergo extensive medical treatment. “No amount of relief is enough as we cannot convert the damage to money, but what I am looking at is nothing less than Rs 15 lakh,” she said. She said she would also take up Ishita’s case before the full board of the NCW though the state government had assured that it would bear the entire cost of her treatment.
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CM discriminating against Kangra: BJP
Our Correspondent

Palampur, July 16
Mr Ravinder Thakur, a former minister and BJP MLA from Thural constituency, said that Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, had been extending step-motherly treatment to the people of lower areas of the state, particularly Kangra district. He said in present political scenario the Congress had made Kangra district “no man’s baby”.

Addressing a news conference here this afternoon, he said it was evident from the fact that in the recent downsizing of the state Cabinet the Chief Minister had only hit the Kangra district which had 16 MLAs. He said it was a matter of concern that the Chief Minister removed the three ministers belonging to Kangra district and did not touch other districts for the reason best known to him.

He said this action of the Chief Minister had proved that he had been encouraging regionalism and watching the interest of people of a particular region of the state and completely ignoring other districts. Mr Thakur said at present there were only two ministers from Kangra which had 16 MLAs but at the same time there were three ministers from Shimla, which had only eight MLAs. Likewise, there were two ministers from Chamba, which had only five MLAs.

Mr Thakur said the Chief Minister had always been claiming that the Congress was the only party which could protect the interests of other backward classes and the Schedule Castes in the state. But today there was no representative of this community in the state Cabinet.

Mr Thakur said since the Congress took over the reins of the government in the state all development activities had come to a stand still. Though the Chief Minister had laid foundation stones of 12 projects in the past six months, construction was yet to take place for want of funds.

The BJP leader said that the recent decision of the Punjab Assembly to cancel all interstate agreements with the sister states for sharing of water was unfortunate and Himachal Pradesh would also suffer on account of it.

The state would not get any water for the Saha-Nahar irrigation project, which was under construction. This would turn thousand of acres of land barren. Mr Thakur said the BJP had already announced to start a jan andolan in this regard.
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Man kills son, poisons himself to death
Tribune News Service

Mandi, July 15
Thakur Das, a resident of Chandiyal, allegedly killed his 13-year-old son, Narotam (Bholu), and then poisoned himself to death at Balh jungle in Sundernagar, 20 kms from here today.

A nephew of Thakur Das told the police that he (Thakur Das) ran a small business in the Balh area, had no problem as such, but the suicide note, two soft drink bottles, empty bottle of celphos tablets and his scooter recovered from the spot were puzzling the police.

Though the police is yet to verify the credential of Thakur Das’s signature with his family members, the one-line suicide note signed by him reads: ‘lashain nichi parhi hain’ (dead bodies are lying down below). The suicide note has been written on a slip issued by Hateshwari Temple where he was reported to have donated Rs 200.

The story unfolds like this: Two locals named Mohan Singh and Mathura Das, were going towards Hateshwari Temple at 11.30 am. They saw an abandoned scooter on the road side in the jungle and the body of the child lying few yards away from it. They also heard somebody vomiting in the nearby bushes. The man turned out to be Bholu’s father Thakur Das, who was struggling for his life as he had allegedly consumed poison after hacking his son to death.

Mohan Singh and Mathura Das informed the police. But by the time the police reached the spot Thakur Das had died.

The police has sent the bodies for a post-mortem to the Zonal Hospital, Mandi, and informed the family members about the incident.

The SHO, Balh Thana, Mr Uttam Singh, said they were awaiting a post-mortem report and verifying the credential of the suicide note.
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3 killed in bus mishap

Una, July 16
Three persons were killed and 46 injured when a private bus going from Pirnigaha shrine in the district to the Baba Balak Nath shrine in Hamirpur district fell into a 100-foot gorge in Bihru village today.

The bus was hired and the occupants, belonging to Mustanbad Basti of Amritsar city, were scheduled to stay for the night at Mandli.

Fifteen-year-old Lucky, son of Mukhtiar Singh, and bus driver Sukhdev died on the spot, while the third victim could not be identified.

According to a passenger, the driver was negotiating a curve when a scooterist came from the opposite direction. In a bid to save the scooterist, the bus lost balance and fell into the gorge. The 42-seater bus was reportedly carrying about 70 passengers, including 15 boys, who were travelling on the roof. Lucky was one of those sitting on the roof and after being thrown off, the bus crushed him.

All 46 injured were shifted to the zonal hospital here. The nine seriously injured include Mukhtiar Singh (50), Bachano Devi (50), Rakesh (15), Satdev (17), Surjeet (55), Lovely (15), Narinder Kumar (30), Amarjeet (18) and Jogindero (58).

The district Administration has provided a relief of Rs 5000 each to the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 2,500 each to the seriously injured and Rs 1,000 each to the other injured. — UNI
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College students appoint two teachers!
Our Correspondent

Solan, July 16
In an unprecedented move, which besides causing embarrassment to the state government and exposing its claim of not compromising with the education, students of the local government degree college peeved at non-appointment of a mathematics lecturer for the past over a year have themselves appointed a teacher.

As many as two posts had fallen vacant after one of the teachers was posted elsewhere last year and another was promoted as a principal of this college. With the new session having begun on July 1 and there being just one teacher to teach over 500 students in the three years of B.Sc. (Non-Medical) students worked out a novel way of appointing two teachers themselves.

While the two appointees are working without any salary the college principal, Mr H.S. Negi, says, “since they were not appointed officially and worked for a social cause, to help the students cope up till a regular teacher was appointed, there was every reason to support this move.”

While expressing helplessness at the manner in which the higher authorities had turned a deaf ear towards numerous representations sent to the secretary through the Director, Education, in this regard he said, “The two teachers were well qualified and had post-graduate degrees and were former students of this college.” The principal said with a case pending in the state High Court regarding appointment of research scholars no regular appointment could be made till a final decision was arrived at.

This also impeded the appointment of contract teachers thereby severely affecting academic atmosphere. Not only were the students forced to depend on private tuitions but had to shell out-large sums to study the subject on their own lamented a section of the students.

This had taken toll of the poor students who could not afford tuitions. The students rued that despite their tall claims little was being actually translated to reality to ensure that such crucial posts were not kept pending.
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Buffalo sacrificed to appease goddess
Kuldeep Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Mandi, July 16
Chained by devotees, a young well-bred buffalo is dragged into the temple amid the beats of drums. Then come the ‘human incarnates’ of Devi Hidimba, Manali’s presiding deity and her guest devtas, shivering in trance and bless the devotees. The weapon is raised eight times in the air before beheading the buffalo, which groans in pain before collapsing in a pool of blood.

Then follow a slew of other animals — a lamb, a crab, a fish, a cock. They too fall to the weapon one by one around the temple. Amid public applause, these animals are sacrificed to please Devi Hidimba. They believe that the goddess will guard the valley from evil spells and spirits that have been striking it, triggering flash floods, snowstorms and avalanches over the years.

This ritual scene could have incurred the wrath of activists of animal rights. But it invoked fun for hundreds of tourists including foreigners, who gasped in disbelief at the ritual for peace and prosperity at Mandi, in the valley of God today.

The ‘Ashtang sacrifice’ dates to a local legend of the epic age. “The ritual is performed to save the valley from evil influences and natural disasters like flash floods and snowstorms”, believes Mr Rajesh Kumar, a local resident.

Before the buffalo is sacrificed, it is well fed and taken for rounds of the villages under a belief that the animal imbibes all evil spells and spirits that haunt the area. The animal is then sacrificed to the goddess in the ritual, freeing the villages of the devils, villagers believe.

They say that some time, human sacrifice was performed. “But it was banned during the British raj. Now a coconut is sacrificed to placate the Devi,” they say. The ritual was performed every four or five years in the past, but it is performed every year ever since tourism picked up in the valley. 
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Panic over jaundice outbreak
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 16
Jaundice is spreading fast in the Naryah gram panchayat area of the Nadaun revenue sub-division of Hamirpur district. As many as 19 students of Nauhngi school, who are afflicted by the disease are being treated at various hospitals of the region.

Mr Prabhat Singh, up-pradhan of the gram panchayat, said there was panic over the outbreak of jaundice and added that the district authorities had been informed about the outbreak.

He said the disease originated due to the unclean water tank of the school. A team of medical officials had gone to the area to treat the jaundice-affected children, said Dr Sudershan Sharma, BMO, Nadaun.

Meanwhile, reports of the outbreak of jaundice are also coming sporadically from various parts of the district. The district authorities have directed the medical staff concerned to take care of the patients and ensure complete medical care so as to check the disease from spreading.
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Crime in Shimla worries Dhumal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, July 15
Mr P.K. Dhumal, the former Chief Minister, has expressed concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and said the failure to nab the boys who threw acid on a college girl in daylight only reflected the incompetence and laxity on the part of the police.

In a statement issued here today he said the inability of the police to solve serious cases had been mainly responsible for the spurt in crime rate. The daring acid attack at Shimla had been followed by a dacoity at the General Post Office at Nalagarh in which Rs 6 lakh were looted and an employee killed. These incidents were indicative of the extent to which the anti-social elements had been emboldened.

Meanwhile, Mr Randhir Sharma, spokesperson of the BJP, has alleged that the government was harassing the fruit growers in the garb of removing encroachments. 
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Rajput-sabha softens its stand on ministers’ issue
Our Correspondent

Kangra, July 16
The Rajput Kalayan Sabha of Himachal Pradesh has softened its stand over the issue of the dropping of the three ministers of the district which include two ministers of the community. The sabha said it was hopeful that the Chief Minister would consider their demand and reinduct them into the Cabinet.

Col S.C. Parmar (retd), President, Rajput Kalayan Sabha, Himachal Pradesh, who was accompanied by the Rajput Kalayan Trust Chairman, Mr Kuldeep Thakur, and the General Secretary of the sabha, Mr C.D. Rana, today hoped that the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, would accept their demand of reinducting the two ministers into the Cabinet. He, however, said the Rajputs were agitated over the issue of dropping these ministers.

Colonel Parmar said, “we are not against Mr Virbhadra Singh but against the policy under the garb of which the Cabinet was reshaped”. 
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BJP leader demands White Paper on projects
Our Correspondent

Hamirpur, July 16
Mr Rajendra Rana, BJP joint media in charge, today demanded a White Paper from the state government on the projects procured and completed during Congress rule in 2003. He claimed that projects worth several hundred crores had been completed during the BJP regime.

In a statement here today, Mr Rana said that the state had got a special package of Rs 1,700 crore during the BJP regime due to better relationship between the then Chief Minister and the then Prime Minister. He said it was painful to say that the state was facing a worst fiscal crisis and the state government was sleeping on this issue. 
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