Written byShalini Ojha
Seven minor girls, including five witnesses of the infamous Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal, went missing from another establishment in Bihar but were found hours later.
The girls "escaped" from the Mokama shelter home on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. They were found later from different parts of Darbhanga town.
This obvious lack of security in the sensitive case led to opposition slamming government.
The Mokama shelter home, where the minors were staying, is managed by NGO of Nazareth Hospital run by Sisters of Nazareth Society.
The girls allegedly fled the home by cutting through a window grill. The incident reportedly took place at around 2 AM on Saturday.
"They were being treated at the facility for violent behavior," Social Welfare Department Director Raj Kumar told PTI.
Police weren't convinced the girls would have planned the escape on their own, considering the passage was narrow.
According to IE, staff members of the home didn't cooperate with the police. They worked in a "secretive manner" and sometimes didn't "allow" women representatives of government to meet inmates.
The staff members are being questioned. Sister Latika, the hospital administrator, didn't comment on the matter.
The lapse in security has raised questions on Nitish Kumar government's intent.
To recall, as many as 32 girls of shelter home, run by Brajesh Thakur, told the town's POCSO court that they were sexually harassed.
The girls were raped, drugged, and even murdered for resisting abuse, prompting the Supreme Court to hand the case to CBI.
The top court is monitoring the investigation.
Quite obviously the escape and subsequent recovery of girls gave the opposition an opportunity to target Kumar.
Leading the charge, RJD minister Tejashwai Yadav tweeted, "Remaining witnesses in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case have been abducted. Who is daring to carry out such an act in an SC monitored case and at whose behest."
He asked who would benefit from the girls' escape.
Bihar Congress unit president Madan Mohan Jha termed it a serious lapse. He added the development screams conspiracy and alleged the escape wouldn't have been possible without the involvement of senior officials.
RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha said, "It appears that the inmates have not fled, but have been assisted by the government in running away. The chief minister should immediately resign."
But BJP denied all charges. Devesh Thakur said the government has always cooperated with CBI.
"This is a case of a lapse in security and guilty will face action," he added.
Notably, earlier this month, a court ordered probe against Kumar in Muzaffarpur scandal.
While the opposition cheered at this development, lawyers explained it was normal procedure and no action will be initiated against Kumar.
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