Bihar's social welfare minister Manju Verma has tendered in her resignation, reportedly following a call from chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday, August 8. Manju Verma's husband was alleged to have been one of the assaulters in the rape of 34 minor girls at the shelter home in Muzaffarpur, which has now been dubbed the 'house of horrors.'
The monstrous crimes committed against young girls aged between 7 and 18 served as a rude awakening for the Bihar government. Amid allegations of severe negligence against multiple officials of the Nitish Kumar-led government, one that stood out the most was against Chandeshwar Verma, husband of the social welfare minister Manju Verma.
Even though the minister vehemently denied all allegations against her husband and refused to step down despite demands from the opposition, CBI investigations revealed that Chandeshwar had, in fact, been in contact with main accused Brajesh Thakur. The phone records had revealed 17 calls between the two.
However, Manju Verma, who is adamant that this is nothing more than political vendetta said she has faith in the judicial system and that her husband's name will be cleared.
I resigned because media and opposition had created a furor, but I have full faith in CBI and Judiciary, I am sure truth will be out and my husband will come out clean.
With CBI taking over the investigation, the lax and even involvement of multiple officials of the government began surfacing. Manju Verma's husband had allegedly entered the rooms of the minor girls with no one else accompanying him on multiple occasions.
There was a public outrage when the news of the government-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur surfaced on the severe negligence and outright ignorance of the concerned authorities that led to the shelter homeowner, Brajesh Thakur abusing his power.
The young girls were raped, beaten, tortured and abused over a period of years right under the government's nose and no action had been taken. What's worse is that one of the men who had allegedly visited the shelter home to abuse the girls was none other than the chairman of the child welfare committee. Dilip Kumar Verma, whose photo was identified by the victims as one of the rapists, is currently on the run.
The Opposition, led by Tejashwi Yadav along with the support of Rahul Gandhi and Congress in the Delhi, is mounting pressure on chief minister Nitish Kumar. They are demanding the dismissal of every official found directly or indirectly responsible for the assault on the young girls.
Recently, the assistant directors of child protection units in 6 different districts were suspended for failing to "take adequate legal action" with regard to "assault, indecent behaviour and other undesirable activities" at shelter homes within their respective jurisdictions.
While one is on the run and the spouse of another has been dismissed, it remains to be seen how many more officials of the Nitish Kumar government were found to be involved in the horrifying crimes.