Shimla, July 10: Public outrage mounted on Saturday as police were still clueless in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in the Kotkhai area of Shimla district. Residents of nearby villages demanded CBI probe into the incident to get justice for the victim whose naked body was found in the woods, 100 metres from the road, near Halaila in Kotkhai, on Thursday. Her school uniform was recovered from the spot. The victim, a Class-10 student of Government Senior School, Mahasu, had gone missing on July 3 evening.
While people from surrounding villages staged demonstrations at Gumma, 50 km from Shimla, members of some social organisations and student outfits took to the streets and held a candlelight march in the capital city. Leaders from both the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not say anything on the issue.
“We haven’t heard of such incident in Himachal Pradesh before. Things have deteriorated. The government should deal the criminal(s) with a tough hand to ensure safety of women,” Shyama Sharma, a Sanjauli resident, said. Shivalika Chauhan, who lighted a candle praying for the victim, said, “This incident has shook us. It means we are not safe in Himachal, the land of gods.”
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and left-backed Student Federation of India (SFI) staged a protest and also demanded the justice for the victim.
Director general of police (DGP) Somesh Goyal directed Shimla superintendent of police (SP) DW Negi to visit the crime spot. “I have directed the SP to investigate the matter,” he said.
Shimla additional SP Bhajan Negi said, “We will nab the culprits soon. We are investigating the matter from all angles.”
The police have registered a case under Section 376 (punishment for rape), 302 (punishment for murder) and 4 (punishment for penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act against unidentified person. The post-mortem report on Friday suggested that the cause of death was strangulation.
POLITICAL LEADERS CHOOSE SILENCE
Political leaders, who don’t miss the single opportunity to grab the limelight, did not come forward to condemn the incident. Barring BJP’s state vice president Ganesh Dutt, none of the leaders, including women, condemned it. Even social media cells of political parties also chose not to comment on the issue.