In Himachal Officer's Murder, Supreme Court Steps In, Says "Serious Issue"

The Supreme Court today called the shooting of a civic worker in Himachal's Solan an "extremely serious issue", it would take up the case tomorrow.

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Officer supervising demolition in Himachal's Solan was shot dead by hotel owner


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Himachal officer killed allegedly by hotel owner during demolition drive
  2. Accused ran away; police have announced Rs 1 lakh for info on him
  3. Supreme Court today called it an "extremely serious issue"
A government officer overseeing a court-ordered demolition at a hotel in Himachal Pradesh's Kasauli was shot dead yesterday as the owner fired at the civic team. A worker was seriously wounded by a bullet.

The Supreme Court today called it an "extremely serious issue" and said it would take up the case tomorrow.

"We might stop passing any order if you are going to kill people," said the angry judges.

"A lot of people tried to violate our orders."

Shail Bala, the assistant town and country planner of Kasauli, was part of a team of civic officers who were tasked with razing illegal structures in 13 hotels and resorts in the town 60 km from capital Shimla.

The court had called the structures unsafe for tourists who drive the hotel and guesthouse business in Himachal's hill-towns in the summers.

As the team reached the gate of Narayani Guest House, owner Vijay Singh allegedly fired shots in the air.

A bullet hit Shail Bala, killing her on the spot. A labourer, Gulab Singh, was also hit. One bullet whizzed past another officer in the team, Sanjya Negi. The owner ran away. The police have announced Rs.1 lakh for information on him.

The Supreme Court questioned why the police couldn't act. Around 160 policemen had gone with the demolition team. "What were they doing," the court demanded.

Shail Bala and the other officers were acting on the Supreme Court's April 17 order to demolish illegal extensions at hotels in Kasauli, built by owners for extra money.

Picturesque Kasauli is a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, but hotels have mushroomed without checks over the past few years.


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