October 22, 2017

Chamba rape case

The alleged rape of a 16-year-old school student by her teacher in the Tissa tribal area of Chamba district has taken a communal colour. The police had a tough time trying to prevent a communal clash in the area today, even as Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who had to lay foundation stones for various development schemes in the area, cancelled his Tissa visit. Around 2,000 protesters gathered at Tissa during the day and started advancing towards Kush Nagari, a Muslim-dominated area. When stopped, they pelted the police with stones, which resorted to lathicharge. ASP Varinder Thakur, five other policemen and many protesters, including women, were injured. The protesters damaged houses of members of a particular community. The student of Kush Nagari government school had alleged that she was repeatedly raped by her teacher under threat that he would fail her in the examination. After her parents filed a police complaint, the accused was arrested and remanded in judicial custody on July 27.On Saturday, however, some miscreants, allegedly egged on by a Muslim Congress leader, entered the school and beat up teachers. Sources said even women teachers belonging to a particular community were not spared.On Sunday, Tissa residents demanded action against those who attacked the teachers. They pelted the police station with stones and attacked the SDM. Today, around 2,000 protesters got together at Tissa. All government teachers posted in the area extended support to the agitators and announced to boycott teaching till the accused were arrested.  Chamba SP Varinder Tomar claimed the situation in the Tissa area was tense, but under control. He said the police had arrested two persons in connection with the assault case. Had the protesters not been stopped from heading towards the Kush Nagari area, a communal clash might have erupted, he added.The protesters are demanding the removal of Dildar Ali Bhat, Himachal Haj panel chief and Congress leader, for allegedly inciting violence against schoolteachers. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has, meanwhile, alleged that RSS and BJP activists were behind yesterday’s violence. “The BJP resorts to such tactics whenever elections are drawing near,” he alleged.

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