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Katihar Tragedy Brings Back Focus on Rising Crime Rates in Bihar

Bhajjan Das lost his two daughters — five-year-old Priti and three-year-old Kiran — in the blaze. He and his disabled wife Manju suffered deep burn wounds and are battling for life in Katihar Sadar Hospital.

Utkarsh Singh | News18

Updated:June 16, 2018, 9:17 AM IST
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Katihar Tragedy Brings Back Focus on Rising Crime Rates in Bihar
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New Delhi: A Dalit family was set on fire by locals in Bihar’s Katihar when they were sleeping in their thatched house on the night of June 10.

Bhajjan Das lost his two daughters — five-year-old Priti and three-year-old Kiran — in the blaze. He and his disabled wife Manju suffered deep burn wounds and are battling for life in Katihar Sadar Hospital.

Bhajjan, who ran a tea shop to make ends meet, had built his house on a piece of unoccupied government land in Gordha village.

The family was being pressured by their neighbours for the past few months to vacate the land so that they could occupy it but to no avail.

Police arrested two accused, Abdul Rehman and his wife, after preliminary investigation.

Katihar SP Vikas Kumar, who is camping in Azamnagar after the incident, said: “We have picked up two accused and they have been sent to jail. These two were the only accused. Police is now collecting evidence and preparing a chargesheet against them.”

He also assured that the critically injured couple was receiving medical care and police would not spare the perpetrators.

The attack on the Dalit family, however, is not an isolated incident.

Just a few days ago, a group of armed men tied a doctor to a tree and took turns to rape his wife and 15-year-old daughter in front him in Gaya district.

On June 12, a girl was molested by five men in Nalanda. The incident came to light after a video went viral on social media.

Fifteen of 44 minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur were raped and five of them are pregnant. The girls at the shelter home, run by an NGO called Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti, were shown pornographic films and injected with sedatives before being sexually assaulted. Those who resisted were brutally beaten up.

Two videos of girls being molested in Bihar’s Gaya district also went viral on social media in May.

Earlier, rape and molestation videos from Jehanabad and Naubatpur area of Patna district had come to the fore.

The incidents highlight the deplorable law and order situation in the state.

Despite action by police and formation of several SITs, the crimes rate continues to rise.

This has also dented the image of chief minister Nitish Kumar, who is popularly known as ‘Sushasan Babu’ (good administrator).

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has sharpened its attack on the state government and the chief minister, with leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav questioning Kumar’s “antaratma” (conscience). Yadav added that the law and order situation in Bihar was at an all-time low and women are not safe in the state.

Bihar governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday asked girls studying in state universities to report incidents of molestation or sexual harassment on campus directly to the Raj Bhavan. The bhavan has deputed officers and given them special telephone numbers for attending complaints by girl students.

Reacting to the move, Yadav tweeted: “The Governor is also aware that law and order is in mess under Nitish Kumar’s rule.”
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