Amid mounting pressure from a staunch Opposition that is vehemently protesting against the sheer lax of the Bihar government, not to mention the public outrage on monstrous crimes inflicted upon young girls at the 'house of horrors' in Muzaffarpur, 6 officials from the state's child protection unit have been suspended.
Following the failure to take action by the assistant director of the Child Protection Unit in Muzaffarpur, looks like the government has identified five more officials for the same lax in action. The social welfare department has now suspended the officers, who were from the districts of Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Munger, Araria, Bhojpur and Bhagalpur.
The officials, who were posted as assistant directors of Child Protection Units in their respective districts, were suspended for "failure to take adequate legal action" with regard to "assault, indecent behaviour and other undesirable activities" at shelter homes within their jurisdiction, rediff.com reported.
Suspension of the officials comes following massive public outrage and mounting pressure from Opposition on the Bihar government to take stringent action in the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape incidents.
TISS had submitted an audit report after interacting with the girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home who had trusted them enough to open up about the atrocities they faced behind closed doors.
The audit report mentioned what the young girls had confided in them (information that has not been made public) and said that it needed to be investigated by the appropriate authorities.
Though submitted in May, no visible action following the audit report was taken about a month later, indicating apathy on part of the responsible authorities. It was only after the social welfare department filed an FIR based on the audit report that the sordid tale of rape, torture and abuse of 34 young girls aged between 7 and 18 at the government-run shelter home came to light.
Multiple officials in the state government are believed to have either been aware of or directly involved in the horrifying crime. One of them was Dilip Kumar Verma.
A chairman of the district child welfare committee and the man responsible for overseeing the safety of the shelter home inmates, Verma was identified as one of the men who visited the home frequently and sexually abused the little girls. He is now on the run.
From Congress president Rahul Gandhi to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, as well as CPI(M) secretary Sitaram Yechury, many have united in the face of Nitish Kumar's so-called "Rakshas Raj" (Devil's rule).
RJD leader former deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav has asked for death penalty for Brajesh Thakur, the main accused who was arrested on July 3.
Nine others employed at the shelter home, found to have been complicit in the horrifying crimes inflicted upon the young girls, have been arrested. Seven of these are women, according to a Rediff.com report.
The children's shelter home housed 46 girls, 34 of whom were repeatedly subjected to rape and sexual abuse, often under sedatives. The girls, the youngest one being 7 years old, were tortured at the slightest sign of protest - from being brutally thrashed to having boiling hot water or oil thrown at them.
The shelter home was part of a 5-storey building and all 46 girls were kept in a hall on the third floor which had no windows.
According to the neighbours around, the girls were never seen outside or on the terrace, but their screams through the night were audible, even though no one dared raise an alarm in fear of the man who ran the place, Brajesh Thakur.
Thakur, the 55-year-old main accused who also owned a local publication (which was part of the same building) had the reputation of a strongman. He has been identified by the shelter home inmates as the man who, apart from sexually abusing and raping the girls under his care on a regular basis, also assaulted them with a whip and thrashed the ones who protested.
One of the victims also reportedly witnessed the murder of another inmate who protested. According to her, the girl was beaten to death and her body, buried on the property.
Thakur has also been connected to the disappearances of 11 women, aged between 18 and 48, from another shelter home he managed nearby. Swadhar Kendra was meant for women aged above 18, with no families, looking for shelter and training in professional skills. Condoms, sedatives and empty liquor bottles were found here, which pointed towards a similar MO of the abusers.