Dog­house Days

The rape-mur­der of a teenage girl snow­balls into an in­dict­ment of the Congress gov­ern­ment

India Today - - STATES - By Asit Jolly

They’re call­ing her ‘Gudiya’. The rape and mur­der of a 16-year-old school­girl on July 4 has stirred the Shimla hills like never be­fore with the pub­lic out­rage threat­en­ing to bring down the Congress gov­ern­ment, just months be­fore fresh assem­bly polls.

A stu­dent of Class X at the gov­ern­ment school at Ma­hasu, some 5 km from her hill­top vil­lage in the Kotkhai area, the girl went miss­ing on her way home on July 4 af­ter­noon. Two days later, rel­a­tives found her body in a for­est not far from where she lived. Al­though a case was reg­is­tered, po­lice only swung into ac­tion af­ter im­ages of the stripped naked dead body went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia, pro­vok­ing an­gry protests in Kotkhai and Shimla.

A week later, on July 13, IG Zahur H. Zaidi, head­ing the SIT in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case, re­ported the ar­rest of six sus­pects. Be­sides ‘main ac­cused’ Ra­jin­der Singh, man­ager of a lo­cal ap­ple or­chard, the others named in­clude Ashish Chauhan, the or­chard owner’s son, two daily wage work­ers from Ut­tarak­hand and two Nepali labour­ers.

But the protests con­tin­ued amid wild ru­mours that the po­lice and the state gov­ern­ment were at­tempt­ing a cover-up to save the ‘ac­tual cul­prits’. With in­creas­ing num­bers tak­ing to the streets in Shimla, Kotkhai and Theog, Chief Min­is­ter Virb­hadra Singh, in an at­tempt to lower tem­pers, agreed to a CBI

CRY­ING SHAME Pro­test­ers out in the streets of Shimla

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