In a classic whataboutery, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi – instead of ensuring that the accused in the sexual abuse of girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur district are brought to book – is busy on Twitter countering the Opposition by blaming them.
Defending Bihar Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma, who is in the face of a storm after her husband’s name cropped up in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case, Modi on Monday extended full support of his party to the minister.
“BJP is fully in support of Manju Verma. No charges against her. Those who have been chargesheeted and summoned by the CBI court in the railway tender scam, whose two dozen benami property attached (sic.) by the Enforcement Directorate & Income Tax are lecturing us on morality,” he wrote on the microblogging website.
The deputy chief minister’s tweet was with reference to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo and former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejashwi Yadav who have been summoned by a Delhi court in connection with the IRCTC scam. Tejashwi is spearheading a protest against the Bihar government over the Muzaffarpur case.
Modi’s tweet came soon after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that Verma might be asked to go if anything is found against her in connection with the case.
NDTV has reported that Verma’s husband Chandeshwar Verma exchanged seventeen calls with Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the case. It has also been alleged that Chandeshwar Verma was a frequent visitor to the shelter home.
Voices are being raised against Verma not only by the Opposition, but her party collegues as well. Former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Dr. C. P. Thakur had said on August 5 that Verma should resign taking moral responsibility for the sexual abuse of over 30 girls in the shelter home. Notably, her department is under the scanner because her department looks after the shelter homes across the state. The state government has now decided to run such shelter homes directly in the state.
The plot in the case got further murkier as one of the 14 survivors of the Muzaffarpur shelter home, shifted to another shelter home in Madhubani district, went missing on August 1. She is said to be the prime witness of the case. This shelter home is run by one Pragya Bharti. Bharti even called a press conference to clear the air. While talking to the media, she alleged that the government, despite her reservations, had sent in the girls from the Muzaffarpur shelter home.
“We are a small unit with only 10 beds, so I had my reservations. But we were forced to keep the girl. Despite having adequate security, there could have been lapses which led to the missing of the girl. We are fully cooperating and have even handed over the CCTV footages to the officials,” she said.
Local residents of Madhubani had raised an alarm against the shelter home much ahead of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences report which blew the lid off Brajesh Thakur’s Balika Grih in Muzaffarpur. “We hear the girls scream at night. Cars are often seen entering the shelter premises late at night. We are sure something is definitely wrong with this shelter home,” said a local requesting anonymity about the Madhubani shelter home.
Meanwhile, the Patna High Court has decided to monitor the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged sexual exploitation and abuse of the 34 girls at the shelter home. The court also ordered a speedy trial in the case and gave the CBI two weeks time to prepare a report on the case.