29 Jul 2018
Bihar shelter-home: Girls cut hands with glass to escape rape
The Muzaffarpur shelter home sex abuse racket gets more horrifying by the day. The toll of raped girls has now increased to 34.
Experts have recovered as many as 63 drugs from Balika Grih, the home, which were apparently used to sedate them.
The girls aged 7-18 have alleged they were raped night after night, and would be beaten mercilessly if they resisted.
TISS flagged the abuse as early as April
The horrors came to light after TISS flagged rampant abuse at 14 shelters in Bihar, including Balika Grih.
The state government had asked TISS to conduct an audit of these institutions last August. It submitted its report in April.
"Almost all institutions (110) were...in violation of...the Juvenile Justice Act, but the residents' inalienable right to life was in question at certain institutions," it said.
At least nine people arrested
Police lodged an FIR against NGO Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, which was running Balika Grih, on May 31.
It was sealed soon after.
Owners Brajesh Thakur, Vineet Kumar, and seven other staff members were arrested.
Girls were starved, drugged, forced to sleep naked, raped
The girls later told cops they were starved, forced to sleep naked, and beaten regularly.
Sedatives would be mixed in their food, which the staff called "de-worming medicines."
A 10-year-old said she was made to sleep in Brajesh's room and heard "aunties" talking about "visitors."
One girl said Brajesh would "scratch my private parts so badly that it used to lead to cut marks."
NGO owners apparently had influential friends
The accused presumably had contacts in high places. An arrested official's wife has alleged a minister's husband used to regularly visit the home.
Neighbors said they frequently heard screams from the home, but "never got the courage to intervene as Brajesh Thakur was a muscleman."
Moreover, a month after the FIR was filed, the NGO was awarded another government project, before it was cancelled.
CBI probe ordered, opposition demands investigation into other homes
The TISS report flagged similar abuse patterns at several other shelter homes, including at boys' homes in Motihari (NGO Nirdesh), Bhagalpur (NGO Rupam Pragati Samaj Samiti), Munger (NGO Panaah) and Gaya (NGO DORD).
Last week, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, under pressure, ordered a CBI probe into the Balika Grih incident.
The opposition has demanded an investigation into the other homes too.
Balika Grih has been home to 470 girls in 5yrs
The girls were so desperate that they used to cut their hands and legs with broken glass to escape the "ganda kaam" (sexual abuse). Police estimate 470 girls have been brought into the home in five years. Four girls have been reported missing since December'13.