Representational Image. Image Courtesy: The Quint
Patna: She was lucky not to become a victim of the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case last year, but not lucky outside, as she was gang-raped three days ago by four men in a moving Scorpio in Bihar’s Bettiah, the district headquarters of West Champaran, widely known as the land of Mahatma Gandhi’s first satyagraha.
This incident took place a day after the Supreme Court last week ordered that the eight girls, who were among the victims of sexual abuse in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, should be restored to their families.
The former inmate of the Muzaffarpur shelter home alleged that she was forcibly picked up from near her residence. That was not all. After the youth gang-raped her for two hours, ignoring her cries and repeated requests to spare her, they abused her, humiliated and laughed at her. She was reportedly also threatened not to disclose this to the police else she or her family would be killed. All this was revealed to the police by the victim after spending 10 hours in the ICU of a government-run hospital, where she has been admitted for treatment.
“The victim has narrated her horror story to police officials after her health condition improved following treatment in the hospital. A board of the hospital doctors had conducted her medical examination. Its report has not yet come. But initial investigations confirmed that she was gang-raped” West Champaran Superintendent of Police, Jayant Kant, told NewsClick.
Kant said an FIR had been lodged against the four named accused as the victim had identified and named them.
As per the local police version, the victim informed the police that on September 13 night, when she was alone outside her home on her way to visit a family in the nearby residential locality, a Scorpio vehicle suddenly stopped near her and she was pushed inside it by four youths, who had covered their faces. Soon after that, the vehicle moved away and the four of them first molested her and then raped her one after another while the Scorpio was being driven from one place to another in different parts of Bettiah town. After committed this crime, the accused threw her down from the vehicle at a locality near her residence.
According to police officials in Bettiah, ignoring threats and warnings by accused, the victim informed her sister-in-law about the incident who, along with her, approached the town police station on September 14.
The ADG, police headquarters, Jitendra Kumar, told NewsClick that special police teams have been conducting raids to arrest all the named accused who have been absconding. ”Police will arrest accused soon”, he said adding that the police would recommend speedy trial in the case.
However, 48 hours after the victim informed the police about the incident, not a single named accused has been arrested so far.
Last year, the victim was shifted from the infamous Muzafffarpur shelter home to a shelter home in Mokama in Patna district. After that, her family brought her back to their home.
Over a year ago, the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case hit national headlines after a social audit report prepared by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences went public. Following this, the Bihar Social Welfare Department had filed a complaint with the police. The shelter home was run by main accused in the case, Brajesh Thakur’s NGO. After hue and cry by the Opposition in Bihar, Thakur was arrested and the Bihar Social Welfare Minister, Manju Verma, was forced to resign owing to reports alleging close links of her husband with Thakur.
Thakur has since been shifted to a jail in Patiala following the order of the Supreme Court, even as the other accused, including his close aides and some government officials, are lodged in jails in Patna and Muzaffarpur.
The case, where at least 34 girls were sexually abused in a shelter gave rise to a wave of protests – from Muzaffarpur town to Patna to Delhi.
The gravity of this case can be gauged from the fact that the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation probe in this case, has repeatedly slammed the Bihar government for delay in taking action.
The trial of the 21 accused, charge-sheeted by CBI for alleged sexual and physical assault on the inmates, is on-going in a Delhi court.