Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Bihar Women Activists Fear Another Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Abuse Case

Women’s associations demand action against Patna shelter home head accused of enabling sexual abuse of its residents.
Bihar Women Activists Fear Another Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Abuse Case

Image Courtesy: PTI

Patna: Nearly four years after the infamous Muzaffarpur shelter home abuse case surfaced in Bihar, women activists in the state fear a similar incident.

Early this week, the Patna High Court took suo motu cognisance of a viral video in which a former resident of a shelter home in the state capital accused the superintendent of enabling their sexual abuse. The court also sought a reply from the state’s social welfare department at the next hearing on February 7.

Former chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Rabri Devi targeted the Nitish-Kumar led National Democratic Alliance government over Patna shelter home case on Friday. “The state government has complete information of everything as it is itself involved in this case. This is shameful,” she said.

Soon after the Muzaffarpur case hit headlines, the state government gave a clean chit to then-social welfare minister [Manju Verma], Rabri Devi alleged adding, “again the state government will give clean chit to the accused.” The court had already “pulled up the state government and asked why no FIR was lodged but it will not make any difference to the double engine NDA government in the state,” she added.

Two days ago, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who is also the leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, said that another case of sexual exploitation at a shelter home is shocking. “We will take this issue as seriously as the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case,” he said.

In the video, the former resident alleged that she was sedated, sexually abused and tortured in collusion with shelter home superintendent Vandana Gupta and also hinted at sexual abuse of other residents.

At a joint press conference held here, the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA ) and the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) demanded action against the social welfare department for questioning the former resident’s character.

The government should set up a committee headed by a sitting Judge of the Patna High Court to probe the allegations of sexual abuse at the shelter home,” Meena Tiwari of AIPWA said. AIDWA leader Rampari said that if the government fails to take action, the Association would stage a protest on February 9.

Similarly, Loktantrik Jan Pahal leader Kanchan Bala demanded that the court set up a committee headed by a sitting woman Judge to probe the incident. “The probe team should talk to every resident of shelter home privately and submit a report,” it said.

Bala demanded the immediate sacking of Gupta and an FIR against her in view of the serious allegations for a free and fair probe into the incident. The social welfare department, which had dismissed the case as baseless, has not set up an inquiry committee so far.

According to women activists, the video clip first went viral on social media on January 31. Minu Kumari, a woman lawyer who has been helping the former resident, said that five residents, including two from Bangladesh, were missing from the shelter home.

Seema Samridhi, a Supreme Court lawyer who also fought the Nirbhaya case, said that the “social welfare department has given a clean chit to the superintendent in a hurry without a proper investigation”.

The role of the Patna district administration is questionable as officials tried every possible way to suppress the voice of the victim. The police have failed to lodge an FIR despite the victim running from pillar to post for justice in the last several days,” Samridhi said adding that the incident looks “similar to the Muzaffarpur shelter home case”.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram