Authorities in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur are probing the disappearance of seven destitute women from a home run by the non-government organisation (NGO) under the scanner after allegations of repeated sexual exploitation of 29 girls emerged at one of its establishments.
The case of the missing women surfaced after the state director of social welfare department Raj Kumar ordered its officers to supervise all the shelter homes run by Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, 70km north of Patna. The Samiti was engaged by the welfare department to run the homes.
“During the course of the inquiry, we have found that seven inmates from the other shelter home they were running for adult destitute women were missing. The Muzaffarpur DM had shot off a letter to us apprising of the situation and seeking a direction in this regard,” Kumar said.
“After reviewing the report submitted by the inquiry team, I have granted permission to them to lodge an FIR,” he added.
The director also said he had also informed respective government departments for legal action against the NGO that operated Swadhar Home.
“The government of India is responsible for taking action as the NGO is funded by them to run the shelter homes for runaway, trafficked or other destitute girls and women,” said Kumar.
Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Harpreet Kaur, however, differed from the social welfare department on the number of missing women from Swadhar Home.
“I have personally inquired into the matter and have found that only four girls have been absconding since December 15, 2013. The Swadhar Home has been shut for nearly one year now. I have also got the address details of these girls and trying to verify the truth,” she said.
She said that an FIR has been registered with town police station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including absconding from legal confinement.
The Samiti came under the spotlight after Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) conducted a social audit of shelter homes running across Bihar and reported abuse of inmates at Balika Grih, the shelter home for runaway or trafficked minor girls, run by the organisation.
Police said on Tuesday 42 girls out the 44 rescued from the shelter home were medically examined and reports show 29 were raped. The two other girls are reportedly unwell and could not be sent for the tests.
At least ten people have been arrested so far.
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.
The state government has said it will not recommend a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, a demand that the opposition has been pressing with.
Courtesy: Hindustan Times