Over the past weeks, Himachal Pradesh has been on a boil. On July 4, a 16-year-old girl left her school in Mahasu, Shimla and headed home. On other days, her brother would accompany her. However, that day, he stayed back to attend an event in the school. On her way back, she crossed paths with Rajendra Singh, a orchard manager from her village, who was driving a private vehicle and was headed to the village. Singh offered her a lift. The vehicle had five other men between the ages 19 to 42 years, each one of them inebriated. They took the girl -- named Gudiya by residents of Shimla after the incident -- to a nearby forest and took turns to rape her. Later, they killed her. The victim's body was found with bite marks all over her body, burns from cigarettes in the forest.
Since then Shimla has been on a boil, demanding quick justice for 'Gudiya'.
The Himachal Pradesh government, in a move that they must have thought would allay the protests, decided to name a government school after the girl who was raped and murdered.
A school in Dhar Tarpunoo (Tali), located close to victim's house was upgraded as a senior secondary school and the government named it after her, reports Indian Express. According to Indian laws, one is not supposed to reveal the identity of a victim of rape.
It had to eventually scrap the move.
"There were cigarette burn scars on her body. She was bitten over lips, cheek, breasts. A leg and an arm had fractures. She was subjected to inhuman treatment before she was murdered," the 16-year-old's uncle told India Today.
The first arrest was made nine days after the incident, infuriating the victim's family further. A SIT probing the case made the arrests. Scoopwhoop News reports: "The arrested were Ashish Chauhan alias Ashu (29), a resident of Sharaal village in Mahasu area of Kotkhai; Rajender Singh alias Raju (32), the driver of a pick-up vehicle and a resident of Hiliala village; Subash Singh Bisht (42) and Deepak alias Deepu (29), both residents of Pauri Garwal; Suraj Singh (29) and Lok Jung alias Chotu (19), both hailing from Nepal."
However, the victim's family was hardly convinced by these arrests. The victim's sister told reporters that for the one week that the police were searching for the assailants, they had been told that they belonged to 'influential' families and were on a run. Suddenly on July 13, they arrested 6 people who weren't from rich families -- two of them were labourers from Nepal. The police also said that, they had arrested another man for the crime. However, the seventh suspect was killed by the primary accused Rajendra Singh in the police station itself -- by smashing his head on the floor of the lock-up.
They also alleged that the police had botched up the investigation and the post mortem report -- which wasn't made public at that time -- didn't have any detail of the torture though there were clear signs of it on her body.
Angry residents of Kotkhai, located about 55 km from the capital of Shimla, forced their way into the police station and attacked cops for allowing the death of one of the six men accused of the gangrape and murder of the 16-year-old.
Last week, following several pleas, the state government agreed to recommend that the case be investigated by the CBI. It was only after 15 days that the case was finally handed over to the CBI.
Meanwhile, the state government transferred three members of the police Special Investigation Team or SIT which was probing the case, including its chief, Inspector General (southern range) ZH Zaidi.
"We were told that the case has been handed over to the CBI. But no CBI official has so far started investigation in the case," the victim's father told NDTV.
So why did the government decide to name a school after the victim? The move, as Indian Express notes, reportedly came after Shimla's Deputy Commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur and SP Soumya Sambasivan visited the family of the victim for the first time after the crime.
However, no one realised that it was illegal to identify the victim till the officials handling legal affairs pointed out the flaw which could attract provisions of Section 228, IPC. "We immediately withdrew the notification to correct the mistake," an IAS officer told Express.