As anger grows in Himachal Pradesh over the gangrape and murder of the 16-year-old girl – posthumously nicknamed ‘Gudia’ – one of the accused has been found dead in his jail cell.
According to reports, Suraj Singh, was allegedly killed by the main accused, Rajender Singh, following a scuffle on the night of 18 July in his jail cell at Kotkhai police station. A crowd pelted stones and protested outside the police station following Suraj’s death.
Gudia was found dead on 6 July, in Halaila forests in Kotkhai, two days after she went missing on her way home from school. Postmortem reports confirmed that she was raped and strangled. According to the police, her uniform, and belongings were lying near her body in the forest when they found her.
People of Shimla took to the streets to demand justice for ‘Gudia’. An angry mob threatened to sit on indefinite strike. In Theog, thousands of protesters gathered, ransacking police vehicles and engaging in minor altercations with the police, all to demand a CBI probe into the case.
On 14 July, 80-100 hundred women from Kotkhai gathered and sat on the Hindustan-Tibet National Highway, blocking the path for hours from 9:30 am, demanding a CBI probe into Gudia’s case.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, following the widespread protests, decided to hand over the case to CBI “in view of the public sentiments and gravity of the crime”.
While he said that the protesters did not have any reason to agitate, he also alleged that if there is a “political hand in this, it will be dealt with sternly.”