Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 18
Outcry for justice to Kotkhai minor rape and murder victim became shriller as massive protests continued across the state. Villagers of 24 panchayats under the banner of Joint Action Committee, veopar mandals, social organisations and political parties took out a protest march in Gumma market, about 55 km from here today.
The Theog-Hatkoti road was blocked at Gumma market for more than five hours and a large number of vehicles was stranded on both sides of the road as thousands of people gathered at Gumma market. The protestors demanding arrest of real culprits in the case raised anti-police slogans.
“Earlier the investigations were on track but Special Investigation Team (SIT) has derailed the probe”, said father of the victim demanding that the CBI probe be expedited.
Enraged over the inapt handling of the case by the police, the protestors alleged that the police was trying to hush up the case and feared that the evidence could be destroyed in case the probe is not immediately handed over to the CBI.
Addressing the public, former BJP minister Narendra Bragata said that “We want justice for our daughter but innocent persons should not be made the scapegoat”. He asked the local Congress MLA who uploaded the photographs of suspects on the Chief Minister’s Facebook page why these were removed within minutes. He demanded action against those who uploaded the pictures.
Sources in the police said the body of the victim was recovered by his uncle on July 6. Before the police reached the spot hundreds of people had gathered there, fiddled with the evidence, clicked photograph of the body which went viral on the internet.
It is a blind case and we were following leads, the sources said.
Protesters march to Guv’s House in Shimla
Expressing solidarity with the victim, hundreds of people, including school and college students and a large section of women, gathered at the Central Telegraph Office and marched towards the Raj Bhawan.
Demanding justice for the minor victim, the agitators raised slogans like “Hang the rapists”, “You rape we chop”, “Insensitive government”, etc. The call for the protest was given by the Shimla Nagrik Sabha whose members also submitted a memorandum to the Governor demanding justice for the victim.
Meanwhile, residents of Dhalli on the outskirts of the state capital Shimla also took out a protest march seeking justice for the victim. Shops and business establishments remained closed till 12 noon.
The locals, including school children, carrying placards in their hands marched from Dhalli Chowk to the tunnel and came back raising slogans like “Gudiya ko insaaf do” and demanded immediate arrest of the real accused in the case.
A local shopkeeper Purshottam said that the way the investigations have proceeded and innocent people have been framed, the police have lost its credibility. The CBI should immediately start investigations before it is too late.
The ABVP also held protests at Sunni and Chail besides carrying out a signature campaign for hanging of the real culprits.
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