29 of 44 girls in Muzaffarpur shelter home raped, Bihar rules out CBI probe
Bihar will not recommend a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a case where 29 out of 44 girls were raped in a shelter home in Muzaffarpur, the state’s senior-most police officer said on Tuesday, even as opposition parties accused the government of shielding the accused.
Director general of police KS Dwivedi said he was satisfied with the investigation being conducted by the department into the case that has triggered an outrage in the state.
Dwivedi said 42 girls out the 44 rescued from the shelter home, 70km north of Patna, were medically examined and reports show 29 were raped. The two other girls are reportedly unwell and could not be sent for the tests till Tuesday afternoon.
The senior police officer deflected a question on the involvement of politicians in the case while addressing the media along with principal secretary, social welfare department, Atul Prasad, in Patna.
“Ten of the 11 accused have so far been arrested,” he said.
When asked why a test identification parade had not been done as yet, Dwivedi said, “We will do it, if required.”
Reports of repeated sexual abuse of inmates at the short stay home in Muzaffarpur surfaced after Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) carried out a social audit of shelter homes across Bihar last year. The audit report pointed to sexual abuse of girls at the Muzaffarpur home.
Prasad said the institute submitted its report in April this year. The government lodged a first information report on May 31.
“The department first discussed and reviewed the report, which was in three parts — good practices being followed, administrative lapses, and criminal negligence at shelter homes,” said Prasad.
“The lapses at the Muzaffarpur shelter home came on the criminal side. We held a workshop on May 26 in which we deliberated on the report threadbare,” he added.
A medical board of Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) in June had confirmed the sexual abuse of a majority of the girls of the ‘Balika Grih’.
The Nitish Kumar-led government is under pressure from opposition parties in the state to act against the culprits and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav has even accused it of shielding the culprits in the case.
Opposition parties raised the case in the Lok Sabha and Congress member Ranjeet Ranjan demanded a probe by the central agency into the case.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh said it was a serious issue.
“If there is a recommendation from the state government, the Centre will consider ordering a CBI probe,” Singh said during Zero Hour.
And, an aggressive opposition led by RJD, Congress and CPI-ML(Liberation) disrupted the proceedings in the Bihar assembly and pressed for their demand for a CBI probe into the sexual exploitation of the inmates of Muzaffarpur shelter home.
Yadav, Leader of opposition in the Bihar legislative assembly, also demanded a CBI inquiry under the Patna high court’s watch and slammed the state government for rejecting the central probe.
The RJD leader accused that the leaders of the ruling Janata Dal(United) were involved in the case.
He also wondered about the reason behind the state government’s opposition to an impartial probe by the CBI if the Centre was willing to get it done.
He alleged that chief minister Kumar had gone to campaign during the 1995 assembly elections for the main accused in the case.
Authorities had on Monday dug the vacant space inside the Muzaffarpur short-stay home over allegations that one girl was allegedly killed and buried after an argument with the staff. The authorities, however, did not find any human body.
Following the expose, the girls were rescued from the shelter home and shifted to Madhubani, Patna and Mokama.