Muzaffarpur Gang Rape Case

Image Credits: Catch News

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken over the rape case in the ‘Balika Grih’ shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. It has been confirmed that 34 girls are victims of rape, torture and assault which happened for months. One victim, who was rescued, claimed that most of the girls who were residing there were raped by the journalist Brajesh Thakur, along with Vineet Kumar, a member of a child welfare committee. After reports of this sexual crime emerged, other NGOs run by Brajesh Thakur was reviewed and one of the NGOs is missing 11 girls. There has been no communication on record from the NGO to the Social Welfare Department about their whereabouts.

According to BBC, it has also been revealed that Thakur was getting 40 lakhs per annum from the state government to run the shelter. He was given a tender to run an old age home and a Juvenile home as well. The ‘Balika Grih’ shelter home was run by an NGO called Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti.  As per reports, Brajesh was given the tender to run the shelter home by the state Social Welfare Department.

Shelter home flouted many rules

For his other shelter homes, Brajesh was given Rs 15 Lakh for the juvenile home, and 19 Lakh for old age home. Till now, no official response has been given by the Bihar social welfare committee or by the Bihar child welfare department. The state social welfare department allegedly sanctioned another project to the NGO running the shelter on May 31 — the same day police lodged an FIR against the NGO.

The Muzaffarpur Superintendent Of Police told BBC that many rules were flouted while giving the tender to Brajesh Thakur. She further said that “One by one a lot of discrepancies came up through the investigation. It has been found that the house which was selected for the shelter home did not meet the criteria under the guidelines set for shelter homes. Another major fault is that Brajesh used to live on the same campus and even his newspaper was running from there. According to the guidelines, CCTV cameras are mandatory in any shelter homes, but there were no CCTV cameras. All these things are taken into consideration.”

Surprisingly, every month a team from Child Welfare Department visited the shelter home for inspection but still no report of any misconduct was filed by the department. The Logical Indian spoke to the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Muzaffarpur, Anil Singh who also said that the shelter home did not follow many rules. He added that the police are not supposed to look into the discrepancies of shelter homes, it is the  Welfare Department who should take the responsibility. “From our initial investigation we found out that there were no CCTV cameras and that most of the guidelines were not followed, but now the case has been transferred to the CBI which will look into the matter,” he said.

When we asked him about the initial findings of the police and if any officials were interrogated in the matter, he said, “I don’t have enough details of the case, the police did interrogate the official of Tata Institute of Social Sciences who filed the complaint, rest the CID will decide,” he added.

“Crorepati” Thakur

Muzaffarpur police in their supervision report stated that Brajesh Thakur has illegal property in his name.

According to the report, “The staff and the top positions holders in Thakur’s fake NGO are his relatives, or dummy names. Thakur has earned millions of rupees from such illegal businesses. In these illegal activities, top officials of the department, employees and bankers were also involved.”

On Sunday, the case was transferred to the CBI. The shelter home was sealed after the sexual abuse came to light during a social audit by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The report was submitted to the state Social Welfare Department, which directed officials to complain.

The girls who were rescued from the shelter home are all below the age of 18. The minors were allegedly given “keede maarne ki dawa” (drug) which made them unconscious. According to their statement, the girls always woke up naked and in pain, reports, PTI. “When the girls used to become pregnant after sexual abuse, they were forced to undergo abortions in this operation theater in the shelter home.” said Sangita Sahni, Additional Public Prosecutor, reported India Today.

All the girls, whose medical reports have confirmed rape, have named Brajesh Thakur in their statements before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.

The Logical Indian take

This shelter was supposed to be a safe haven for girls who had difficult lives. In such kind of place, by people in the position of trust and power, this kind of heinous crime is despicable and spine-chilling. The statements made by the girls and the account given by TISS tells a harrowing tale. To add to this, the monthly inspection visits did not once flag the situation even though the police is saying that many rules were visibly flouted, including the mandatory rule of having CCTV cameras. How can a small-time journalist create such a den of crime if he is not protected by people in power?

Moreover, now cases are coming to light that even in Brajesh’s other shelter homes, crimes like this were committed on a regular basis.