Details from the house of horror that is a children's shelter home in Bihar will send a chill down your spine. Sedated, raped and brutally assaulted at the slightest sign of protest, the inmates of a government shelter home in Muzaffarpur were living a reality that could easily be a young girl's worst nightmare.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has stepped in and taken over the probe. Quite promptly, they filed a case against ten employees of the Balika Grih, run by Seva Sankalp Evam Vikash Samiti, for the rape of 34 girls, all aged below 18.
The move comes a day after the Congress demanded a Supreme Court-monitored CBI inquiry into the incident and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attention towards such crimes.
The agency official said:
The CBI has taken over the investigation of the FIR of Mahila Police Station, Muzaffarpur registered on May 31 related to mental, physical and sexual exploitation of girl children residing at Children Home at Sahu Road in the town.
At the centre of the horrific crime in Brajesh Thakur, the man running the shelter home and responsible for the care of these young girls. Brajesh Thakur, along with ten other employees at the shelter home is said to have raped, tortured and physically assaulted the girls under their care.
The crime prevailing in the house came to light when a Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Science conducted an audit here and uncovered evidences of sexual assault. The report was submitted to the state Social Welfare Department, which directed officials to lodge a complaint.
As investigations continued, the young girls began revealing horrifying details of rape, abuse and torture at the shelter home.
According to a ToI report, the inmates said that they were sedated and often asked to sleep naked. Girls as young as ten were subjected to rape and torture, it has been revealed. The report also quotes the testimony of a 10-year-old victim of the house:
Sedatives were mixed in my food due to which I used to feel dizzy. I was asked by the aunties to sleep in Brajesh sir's room and they used to talk about some visitor coming there. I used to find my pant thrown on the floor when I got up in the morning.
The shelter home housed about 44 girls aged between 7 and 18. They even spoke of incidents where boiling water and oil was thrown at them, Hindustan Times reported. From being burnt with cigarette butts to having to endure their private parts being scratched, the girls at the government-run shelter home were tortured and beaten into keeping mum.
A member of the state women commission, Dr Nikki Hembram, who interacted with the survivors said that the extent of abuse was such that girls had no courage to speak of the torture to anyone else.
There was none to help them and in utter helplessness they had compromised and continued to bear the torture and trauma. All these years officials from child welfare committee (CWC) and district monitoring committee kept visiting the shelter home, but no one had the courage to speak out.
Multiple visits by CWC officials to the Muzaffarpur shelter home over the past years revealed no discrepancies as the girls were never left alone with them, the HT report added.
The torture of rape and physical abuse was such that some of them even preferred death over life. One of the inmates reportedly attempted suicide by slashing her wrists with a shard of glass, but somehow managed to survive.
The neighbours, meanwhile, did nothing. ToI reports that people living around the shelter home often heard deafening screams coming from the building. While they never actually saw the girls walking around on the property outside, they heard screaming and yelling on a frequent basis. But nothing was done. They did not visit the home or file a complaint because, one of the neighbours states, they were afraid of Thakur.
It has been revealed that one of the girls who refused to give in and often stood up to her abusers was mercilessly thrashed to death. Dr Hembram added:
The girl (who was killed) continued to oppose the shelter home employees' directions despite repeated threatening and tortures. One evening, she was brutally beaten even after she felt unconscious. When she stopped breathing, her body was packed in a sack and was thrown down the stairs. Next morning, it was loaded on a rickshaw and disposed of somewhere.
A few days ago, officials began digging up at the shelter home after one of the inmates revealed that a girl who was abused and murdered was buried on the property. Though no body was recovered then, the possibility of murder has not been ruled out.