16 year old girl gang-raped in Himachal. Stop rising drug and alcohol abuse in the state.
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To lose a loved one is devastating. To lose a loved one to rape & murder is horrific. To be denied justice causes unimaginable pain.
Who was she?
She was 16 years old; a class 10 student from an ordinary but hardworking family who had her whole life ahead of her.
What happened to her?
When she did not return from school, her family members launched an intensive search and informed the police. Two days later, her decomposing body was discovered in the nearby Halaila forest in the Kotkhai region of Shimla district, India. She had been allegedly kidnapped, gang-raped and brutally murdered. Her naked body was then dumped in the forest.
Have there been any arrests?
The police made a major effort and arrested a total of six perpetrators - some allegedly drunk or drug affected. Their ages range from 19 to 42 years. The locals believe these are NOT ALL THE CULPRITS. They believe some perpetrators from prosperous and affluent families still walk free. In a country like India, where there's widespread corruption, freedom can be bought. Citizens suspect misuse of power, money and influence in this incident. This incident is under active investigation - there is much we still do not know!
What about the community?
Kotkhai, where this incident happened, is a small, close-knit rural region of about 12,000 people. It is a relatively affluent area, where apple orchards have brought individual prosperity to many. But affluence has been accompanied by rising indolence in the younger generation. Hooliganism, drug and alcohol abuse, drink-driving, fights; and now, rape and murder; is increasingly common.
Why this petition?
This is the first incident of its kind in this region. When women and children are not safe, it points to a degeneration in the moral fabric of society. No one is safe! The State Government has offered compensation to the murdered girl's family. But true compensation requires justice to prevail. And for drastic action to be taken, to ensure such incidents do not recur.
This is a petition to the Chief Minister, Himachal Pradesh, and the State Government for:
1. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquest into the crime [Note: a CBI probe has been announced - see update below]
2. An impartial investigation and just trial
3. Ramp-up security for women in the state.
4. Address the root cause - crackdown on drugs and alcohol abuse in the state
State Government of Himachal Pradesh : BREAK THE SILENCE. TAKE A STAND AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE. SEND A MESSAGE TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY THAT WE STAND FOR EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS.
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