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A day after officer’s murder, demolitions go on in Kasauli

IANS | Kasauli |

A day after a woman Assistant Town Planner was shot dead during an anti-encroachment drive in Kasauli town, Himachal Pradesh authorities continued on Wednesday to demolish illegally built hotels and resorts.

As a precaution, Solan Deputy Commissioner Vinod Kumar imposed prohibitory orders in Kasauli area. He said the demolitions continued amid heavy security.

Vijay Kumar, who shot dead officer Shaila Bala Sharma, is on the run. Police have formed teams to arrest him.

“It’s a sad incident. We will submit a status report in the (Supreme Court) tomorrow,” Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur told reporters.

The Divisional Commissioner of Shimla would investigate the killing of Sharma, he added.

The Assistant Town Planner’s body was handed over to her family after postmortem. Her last rites will be held at her village in Ghumarwin in Bilaspur district.

The apex court took suo motu cognizance of her killing when Sharma had gone to supervise the demolition of unauthorized construction of 13 guest houses and resorts in line with a Supreme Court directive.

Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta ordered the razing of illegal structures in guest houses and resorts.

Sharma was shot dead and a labourer injured when Narayani Guest House owner Vijay Kumar allegedly fired three rounds as employees began the demolition drive in Dharampur area on Tuesday.

Two bullets hit Sharma, killing her on the spot, a police official told IANS. Labourer Gulab Singh received a gunshot injury in the abdomen.

A member of the demolition team told the police that policemen, who were unarmed, fled from the crime scene after the town planner was shot dead.

Meanwhile, the mother of the accused said his son was disturbed for the past many days. “We were doing what the authorities were asking us to do,” she told reporters.

Police have announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to the arrest of the accused.

The victim was married to B.P. Sharma, the director of the National Research Centre for Mushroom under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Chambaghat near Solan town.

Their 24-year-old son recently completed his MBBS from the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla.

The Supreme Court on April 17 ordered the demolition of illegal constructions at several hotels and resorts, saying the life of people cannot be endangered for making money.

The court observed that the illegal constructions had put the city in danger, causing landslides, and ordered their razing.