NEW DELHI — As many as 34 girls including a seven-year-old were raped at a children’s shelter in India’s Bihar state, in a case that has led to national anger over the management of care homes for the most vulnerable members of society.
The oldest victim was 18 years old. The girls’ statements to police paint a grim picture of a pattern of abuse.
A total of 44 children lived at Seva Sankalp Samiti in Muzaffarpur, a short-stay shelter for girls who had run away from their families or been rescued from railway stations or the streets.
Muzaffarpur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Harpreet Kaur told PTI that fresh medical reports of 13 girl inmates have confirmed that five of them were sexually abused.
During their medical examination many girls have said that they were given the deworming tablets every night after dinner, after which they would soon go to sleep.
The seven-year-old child told police that she was beaten regularly by Brajesh, whom the girls referred to as ‘hunterwala uncle’, or the uncle with the whip.
Likewise, a 10-year old girl said she would wake in the morning to find her clothes strewn on the floor after being drugged in the night, and complained of a soreness between her legs.
The girls’ testimonies were heard on July 27 at a special court for cases related to India’s Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act which was amended in April to introduce the death penalty for the rape of children younger than 12 years old.
The abuse at the shelter came to light after a government-commissioned report in April into Bihar’s 110 NGOs by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Police said they arrested at least 10 people so far, including the head of the shelter, Brajesh Thakur, who denies the accusations against him. One of the accused has absconded, police said.
7 killed after Delhi-Bound train derails in Bihar
NEW DELHI — At least seven people have died and 14 others injured after a Delhi-bound train derailed early Sunday morning in Bihar’s Vaishali district.
Eleven coaches of 12487 Seemanchal Express derailed near Sahadai Buzurg at around 3:52 am. Three of the coaches overturned and the high force of the impact destroyed them completely.
The injured are being transported to local hospitals.
The superfast train from Jogbani in Bihar to Delhi’s Anand Vihar Terminal was running at full speed when the accident took place, officials said.
Bodies are believed to be trapped inside one of the affected coaches and the number of dead is likely to rise, local police official said.