Girls Were Burnt, Cut and Drugged Daily Before Rape in Bihar Shelter; Survivors Trying to Commit Suicide
Representative image: Reuters
Medical investigation has confirmed 24 girls, all minors and one as young as seven, were raped and physically tortured. One of the girls was also allegedly beaten to death and buried at the shelter after she resisted.
Patna: At least thirty rape survivors of a government-sponsored children’s home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur are suffering from severe trauma and tried to inflict injuries and kill themselves, officials told News18.
The doctors of at least two reputed medical colleges, Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) and Koilwar Mental Hosptilal, said there has been no improvement in their condition and they have approached AIIMS and Hyderabad-based Enfold India for help.
The state’s social welfare director, Raj Kumar, said an expert team comprising doctors and psychologists of Enfold India and AIIMS arrived on Monday.
In all 42 inmates were residing in Muzaffarpur based ‘Balika Grih’ run by NGO Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, owned by a small time journalist and local strongman Brajesh Thakur, who along with nine others were arrested after a Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) social audit report blew the lid off the organized sexual exploitation of inmates.
Medical investigation has confirmed at least 24 girls, all minors and one as young as seven, were raped and physically tortured.
Apart from revealing the grave sexual exploitation, the medical examination of the girls also showed they had burn and cut marks all over their bodies. The reports said they were regularly tortured.
“More importantly, child welfare committee members and head of the organisation are accused of being involved in the crimes against girls in Muzaffarpur shelter home case. This is quite grave, as these are the same persons who are entrusted with the responsibility of protecting these girl children,” an official said.
One of the girls was also beaten to death and buried at the shelter after she resisted, a survivor has alleged.
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.
The state's Nitish Kumar government is under pressure after the disturbing case was highlighted in a tweet by RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who has been taking on the state administration for its "failure" to check crime. Muzaffarpur Police is likely to file charge sheet within a week.
Soon after the crackdown on suspects, all the girls were shifted to Patna and Madhubani by the authorities on May 31. However, after some days, the majority of them started showing signs of the toll the abuse had taken on them.
Raj Kumar said a senior psychiatrist from NMCH started treatment to those who were kept in Patna but the girls showed aggressive behavior during the treatment.
Narrating the horrific experience that inmates suffered, he said, “It has emerged that they were subjected to drug injection on daily basis before someone sexually assaulted them. We can clearly see signs of injection wounds. Now they are showing signs of aggressive behavior. Some of them tried to smash their heads against the metal grill. Abnormal behavior include breaking anything they find nearby like electric switchboard.”
A person who spent some time with the victims said that consistent torture has broken their heart. “They lost all hopes of living a normal life. We believe they are showing withdrawal symptoms also as they were subjected to forced drug addiction in the captivity of the NGO,” he told News18.
Their speedy recovery is a prime concern for the authorities as they would need to depose before the court during the trial to be started after filing of the charge sheet.
This story has been updated to reflect that the burn and cut marks on the girls were found during medical examination conducted after police filed a case and not during the social audit conducted by TISS. The error is regretted.