The news of girls being raped, physically assaulted, and being forced in the business of prostitution at Muzaffarpur shelter home left everybody stunned. The people who were given the responsibility to protect the orphan and abandoned girls were accused of sexually harassing them. This shelter home is run by NGO “seva sankalp evm vikas samiti” under the central government’s Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) “samekit baal sanrakshan yojana”
The “koshis” team of TATA Institute of social science conducted a social audit of this shelter home and discovered that girls are being sexually assaulted here.
At these shelters, girls are supposed to be provided with good food and education and are also given for adoption. But the reality of Muzaffarpur shelter home is totally different and shocking.
The inspection of these shelter homes is conducted at the interval of three months under the supervision of the district magistrate and even the management committee also conducts an inspection visit every month. Under the Juvenile Act 2015 a child welfare committee was formed for inspection of these shelter homes. The committee has to pay inspection visit twice in a month to these foster homes.
Under such security management, the cases of physical assault and prostitution with the girls of Muzaffarpur shelter home are a big question mark on the management. According to the reports, it was the first time when these cases came into light after the audit of TATA’s koshis team. But nobody knows since when these things are happening in the shelter homes.
On 28th May under the POSCO Act and IPC, the FIR was lodged at Muzaffarpur police station and on 30th May the chief functionary Brajesh Thakur and other female staff of the shelter home were arrested.
The medical checkup of the girls (most important in rape cases) was delayed for 20 days. There was no coordination between the social welfare, police, prosecution and health department when girls were called for the investigation. The SIT, deputy SP Anusuiya said that she has not got any report of that confirms that girls are physically assaulted but the SSP of Muzaffarpur Harpreet Kaur stated that the girls were victims of rape. This clash in the statement of different officials and no news about its resolution is a big question about the sincerity of the investigation.
The girls’ statements reportedly indicated that they were drugged and then raped. On every Tuesday, in the name of committee meeting the girls were forced to meet different men, they were forced to go to hotels and perform there, and if they refused to do so they were beaten. According to an unverified report, one of the girls apparently stated that Jyoti Kumari the in- charge of the investigation threatened the girl that if she told anything to the magistrate she would be thrown out of the running bus on the way back.
The constant silence from the high court and the delay in the proceedings are not a good indication and do not instil confidence in those who are watching the outcome closely. It seems that there are some vested interests who are working behind the scenes to get the case thrown out on technical grounds.
BMC 5th SEM [St. Xavier’s College of Mgmt. & Tech.]