Since no one has owned up as to who posted the update and pictures of the alleged rape/murder suspects on the chief minister official Facebook page and everybody have just washed their hands off it with ‘it was a Big Mistake’ – is Not Enough.
The criminal blunder, and not a simple mistake, not only did it fan the rumours circulating on WhatsApp and other privately circulated social media platforms but even put a stamp of authority on it.
Where these rumours and suspicions started floating around from will hopefully, also be investigated by the CBI team. It led to the suspicion that if there was smoke, surely there must be some fire somewhere.
Loading and deleting of the alleged suspect pictures only deepened the suspicion that a cover up was being done.
It also completely discredited the police investigation as they came up with a different set of suspects and not the ones who were for a brief moment declared so by the official Facebook page of the chief minister.
The police was caught in a bind and were unable to file a case under the IT Act against the chief minister and others for spreading rumours, nor were they able to confidently defend their investigation.
Both the district magistrate (DC) and the district police superintendent (SP) proved to be incompetent in handling the situation that exploded after the authorities could not timely assure the agitated people about nabbing the culprits.
More so the former SP, who could not even ensure the safety of the suspects in prison.
Since it is a judicial officer who ordered the arrest of the suspects produced by the police before a court, accountability demands that whoever was found derelict in his duty needs to be suspended and sacked for an accused was cold bloodily killed in police custody.
As the government has a Department of Information and Public Relations that deals with all the information flow released to the public through official press releases or press conferences, there must have been some authority which was incharge of the official Facebook page of the chief minister.
Wittingly or unwittingly the chief minister office and his social media team is caught up in this investigation.
Keeping politics aside, handing over the case investigation to CBI has demonstrated the incompetence of the state police as well as the government’s ability in providing effective governance that should have at least ensured the safety of a rape/murder accused in police custody in such a sensational case.
As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post.
Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.
This case exposes the following fault lines in our criminal justice and administrative system:
 Total arbitrariness of police in arresting “suspects”. The world over police first gather evidence and then arrest: in India it is just the opposite- first arrest and then gather/fabricate/extort evidence which will obviously not stand up in court later.
 The misplaced faith of the lower judiciary in an incompetent police force: so called “suspects” produced by the police are automatically remanded to police/judicial custody without thoroughly examining the evidence against them. Mere allegations by the police does not justify the court obliging them with a remand.
 The collapse of the police as an instrument of the state- they are politically compromised, lack professional skills, do not know the ABC of scientific investigation, have no empathy for the people.
The IG who headed the SIT and the SP Shimla under whose collective watch the botch-up and murder of Suraj Ram took place should be suspended immediately. An FIR under the IT Act, as also the IPC for interfering in the course of the investigation, should be lodged against ( unnamed) persons in the CM’s office for the misleading Facebook post. The DC Shimla, though not directly responsible for either the crime or subsequent botch up, has erred grievously by not visiting Kotkhai immediately to meet with the local people and take immediate action against the cops. He is a youngster and still has a lot to learn about handling public unrest, but he should also be transferred out. Going to the spot a full 13 days after the incident is unforgiveable.
The DGP cannot really be faulted; he had just assumed his post. He has had a baptism by fire and no doubt has learnt a lesson or two. As for the Chief Minister- all I can say is that Nero could have picked up a useful tip or two from him.