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  India   All India  16 Jun 2018  Minor girls sexually abused in shelter funded by govt

Minor girls sexually abused in shelter funded by govt

THE ASIAN AGE. | NAYEAR AZAD
Published : Jun 16, 2018, 7:18 am IST
Updated : Jun 16, 2018, 7:18 am IST

15 of the 44 minor girls in a NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur became victims of violence and sexual abuse.

The govt took 2 months to file a complaint after the shelter home’s audit showed lapses by officials. (Photo: Representational image)
 The govt took 2 months to file a complaint after the shelter home’s audit showed lapses by officials. (Photo: Representational image)

Patna: A Bihar government funded shelter home for children run by an NGO in Muzaffarpur has landed in trouble after Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) submitted an audit report exposing physical violence and sexual abuse of minor girls.

Police investigation reveals that 15 of the 44 minor girls in the home became "victim of extreme physical violence and sexual abuse". The police inquiry report also found that officials of shelter home were involved in the brutal and heinous act.

Most of the girls, who were later shifted to Patna and Madhubani, have made startling revelations against officials of district protection unit, NGO and politicians.

The issue surfaced after a senior official from the district child protection unit approached the Women Police station in Muzaffarpur on May 31 and filed an FIR against the NGO called Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, which has an agreement with the state government to run the shelter home since 2013.

Cases against the NGO and others involved in the act were registered under section 376, 120 B of the IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO).

According to the police, allegations were found true during the preliminary investigation and nine persons including the owner of NGO Brajesh Thakur was arrested. Sources say that Brajesh Thakur is influential and politically connected.

"Medical reports confirm that minor girls were sexually abused. There is also evidence which suggests that at least one girl was taken outside the children's home on many occasions," said Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police Harpreet Kaur.

Sources claim that the police have also been trying to gather information to find whether outsiders visited the children home. Sushma Sahu, member National Commission for Women who met the victims recently also demanded strict action against all those who have been evading arrest. There are reports regarding evidence about few girls being pregnant.

 "There is clear evidence against people who have been involved in the heinous act. We are not concerned whether they are politically connected or not a crime is a crime and they must be punished," Ms Sahu said.

Mumbai-based TISS had conducted social audit of 110 shelter homes across the nation and raised questions on the functioning of 15 of them in Bihar, including the one in Muzaffarpur.

There are about 88 childcare institutions and 20 short stay homes in Bihar. Homes like these are usually meant for girls who leave their homes or are abandoned or get separated from their families.  NGOs that run these government shelter homes get funds from the state social welfare department.

The TISS in its report on March 15 had raised questions on the functioning of the shelter home being run by the NGO and suggested a probe into the allegations of physical violence and sexual abuse leveled by victims. However, the social welfare department took two months to file a complaint.

Tags: bihar government, tiss
Location: India, Bihar, Patna