Villagers pelt stones and protest outside Shimla's Kotkhai Police Station after one of the six accused in the gang-rape and murder of a minor, died in custody. Photograph: (ANI)
The Himachal Pradesh government Wednesday transferred three members of the police Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating the gangrape and murder of a school girl by six men in Shimla's Kotkhai district.
The rape and murder has sparked public outcry in the state, with the role of the police coming in for much criticism.
The SIT officials who have been transferred include its chief, IG (southern range) ZH Zaidi who has been now posted as IG (Welfare and Administration) of the Police Headquarters in Shimla.
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has handed over the investigation into the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh assured a police investigation into the gangrape and murder.
The chief minister's statement came hours after villagers pelted stones and staged protests outside the Kotkhai Police Station after one of the six accused was murdered by another accused in custody.
On Tuesday, two of the accused - a Nepalese Suraj and another man Rajendra - had a heated argument after which Rajendra allegedly banged Suraj's head against a wall, leading to his death, a police official said. Following the incident, a mob went on a rampage, ransacking a police station and pelting policemen with stones.
"Police is investigating the matter. Guards on duty at that time are called for interrogation. Action will be taken against them," the Himachal Pradesh chief minister told the press.
Last week, at least six people were arrested in connection with the gangrape and murder.
The victim, a student of Kotkhai's Mahasu government school, was on her way back from school when she was kidnapped and raped on July 4. Her body was recovered by the police from Kotkhai's Halaila forests two days ago.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry into the case.