Protests broke out in Kotkhai against the gangrape and murder of a Class X student in Shimla


Shimla,July19:Protests broke out in Kotkhai after one of the six accused in the gangrape and murder of a Class X student in Shimla, was found dead inside his cell at the Kotkhai police station. He was allegedly killed by the main accused in the case, Rajender Singh alias Raju, following a scuffle on Tuesday night. The victim was identified as 29-year-old Suraj Singh, a Nepali national, who shared the cell with Rajender and Lokjan alias Chottu.

Protests erupted in Himachal Pradesh, including Kotkhai and other towns over the death of the accused. Shops were shut down in Kotkhai and protesters blocked the highway connecting the town to the capital. Protesters also pelted stones at the Kotkhai police station and clashed with police personnel. Police fired two rounds in air and used mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd. Two policemen and a civilian were injured in the protests.

The state government has ordered immediate shifting of all the policemen, including the SHO at Kotkhai police station. Additional police forces were sent to the area to maintain law and order.

Himachal Governor Acharya Devvrat sought a detailed report from the state government in the gangrape case and the alleged murder of one of the accused. He gave two days time to the government to appraise him with full facts.

Inspector General of Police (South) Zahur Zaidi, who had headed the SIT probe, said he was already on his way to Kotkhai where the body of the deceased was kept at a local hospital.

“Preliminary reports suggest that Suraj was attacked by Raju. He caught hold of his sexual organs and kicked him on the floor. By the time the guard could reach them, Suraj was already dead. It’s a clear case of custodial death which will be probed by judicial magistrate,” Zaidi said.

Road blocked at Fagu near Theog. (Source: Express Photo)

The police is likely to bring his body to Shimla’s IGMC hospital for postmortem. The murder reportedly took place around midnight when a guard heard some noise from inside the lockup. He immediately rushed inside the cell and found Suraj lying dead. All the six accused in the gangrape case were lodged in separate cells. Ashish Chauhan alias Ashu (29), Subash Singh Bisht (42) and Deepak alias Deepu were in a different cell.

Meanwhile, protests continue in Shimla over the murder and gangrape of the school girl. The accused had offered to drop her home while she was on her way from Government Senior Secondary School, Mahasu. They then took turns to rape her and dumped the body in the forests at Halaila on July 6, two days after she went missing and her parents had lodged a police complaint.

The locals, joined by political activists and social bodies, have been accusing the police of a cover up to save a few well-connected individuals. The state government had ordered the case to be transferred to the CBI, which is yet to take over the investigation.