Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said those found guilty in the alleged sexual assault of 34 women in Muzaffarpur shelter home issue will be severely punished and no leniency will be shown towards them. He assured of proper action against the guilty.
The chief minister also said that he is ashamed of the Muzaffarpur incident. He assured that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is investigating the matter. CM Nitish Kumar further asked the Bihar High Court to monitor the investigation.
His remarks come a day after the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre and the Bihar government seeking a detailed reply from them.
On Thursday, protesting against the alleged rape at the shelter, the Left parties called for Bihar bandh seeking the resignation of Nitish Kumar. The bandh was supported by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress Party, Hindustani Swam Morcha, Samajwadi Party and Lokrantrik Janata Dal.
Significantly, on Wednesday the Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik wrote to the Centre and the Bihar government seeking strict rules against all shelter homes indulged in wrongdoing. The Governor wrote to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Chief Justice of Patna High Court over the issue.
At least 34 girls have allegedly been raped and 11 others went missing in two of Muzaffarpur’s shelter homes, run by the same owner, Brijesh Thakur. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was handed over the probe into the case concerning the abuse of girls in Balika Grih, run by Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. It is alleged that officials and employees of the shelter home used to mentality, physically and sexually exploit girls residing there.
The case came to light earlier this year when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on a social audit of the shelter home conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.
More than 40 girls had been lodged at the shelter home and medical reports suggest that over half of them may have had sexual intercourse at some point of time. The NGO running the shelter home has been blacklisted and all the girls have been moved to shelter homes in other districts while the premises has been sealed.
Meanwhile, a fresh case has been registered against Thakur in connection with the disappearance of 11 women from the other shelter home.
According to the complaint, when a survey of the second shelter home was done by the district child protection unit in March, the presence of 11 women was registered. However, when the officials visited the shelter home for another survey in June, they found the shelter home locked.