A month ago, a report came out stating India as the most dangerous country for women. A poll was conducted through interviews of experts which concluded India as the most unsafe place for women. Media channels may not focus much on the issue as they prioritise on communal and religious topics, but the reality is that fact can’t be manipulated, it can merely be ignored. The day when the study was out, spokespersons were shouting their lungs out trying to defend their parties, accusations were laid from both the sides. But the fact is that the govt has always been a failure in issues like women safety, be it the Congress or BJP.
A recent incident, which is unfortunately not much in the limelight, is one that happened in Muzzafarpur. Reports say, a total of 34 girls out of 42 girls, living in a girl’s stay home, were drugged, raped, tortured and beaten regularly. All the rape survivors were minors, ageing between 7-14 years old. The stay home was run by a state govt-funded NGO called Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. Ten accused have already been arrested including the owner, Brajesh Thakur.
A statement recorded by the police suggests that the girls were often taken to other places where they were sexually abused and were often raped after being drugged. The district’s Child Protection Officer has also been arrested on account of this negligence. State Social Welfare Minister, Manju Verma’s husband has also been booked in the case allegedly for visiting the stay home regularly, as stated by the girls. However, the minister has refuted the allegations claiming the accusations were politically motivated. Though in the District Court premises, when the girls were shown the photos of the minister’s husband, they recognised him as the ‘Hunterwale uncle’ and one of them even spit on his photo.
Irony continues to die in Bihar under Nitish K. This was Bihar govt’s programme to launch ‘Girls upliftment programme.’ In yellow sari is state’s social welfare minister Manju Varma, whose husband Chandreshwar Varma is under scanner for Muzaffarpur rape, torture and murder case. pic.twitter.com/FiJMQm95rX
— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) August 3, 2018
The matter was exposed by a team from TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences), who were conducting a social audit of all the girls and old age stay homes across the state. Although the team has praised the CM to allow the audit stating that state government generally don’t allow an independent audit across their territories. Still the extent of barbarism and brutality that happened with the girls can’t be ignored at any cost. Especially when such a gruesome act had been conducted right under the nose of govt.
The first FIR in the case was lodged on May 30, on the recommendation of TISS’s report stating that the stay home was being run in a highly questionable manner and needed to be investigated promptly. It took one-and-a-half months more to complete the investigation. This highlighted the compromised situation of law and order in the state. While TISS’s audit team has also shared their experience during the audit, they applied special tactics to win the confidence of the girls as they were scared that if they disclosed things, it could lead them to further troubles and assaults.
Between all this, opposition parties have also boosted up the attacks on the ‘Sushasan Babu’ govt, mainly RJD, accusing the government of safeguarding their cronies. The opposition also questioned the govt’s intention when Bihar DGP, KS Dwivedi ruled out CBI’s probe request, saying that Bihar Police was capable enough to investigate the matter. The media channels still haven’t raised the issue as much as they do in cases of socio-religious/political incidents.
Recent reports say that the main accused, Brajesh Thakur’s another stay home has 11 women missing since this incident has been brought to light. The accused has several stay homes being run across the city and is known for having a close relationship with the Patna Government. He has also been known for enjoying a close relationship with RJD president Lalu Yadav back when he was CM of the state. So, it’s clearly evident that these demons do enjoy favours of those in power when involving themselves in such shameless and inhumane acts.
It has been observed that since the Jyoti Singh Pandey gang-rape incident, rape cases have increased massively in the country, even after the inclusion of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 which made existing laws even more stringent. It is a clear evidence of the fact that the laws made are not implemented correctly which paves the way for such brutal acts.
The case poses serious concerns on the well being of girls staying at similar stay homes across the country. There may be more demons like Brajesh Thakur roaming free across the country involved in such gruesome acts against women.
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.