Police arrest monk suspected of abusing children

PATNA, Aug 30 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 8/30/2018 10:52:36 AM IST

The head monk of a meditation centre at the international pilgrim town Bodh Gaya has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing several children who came there for training. The child monks have injury marks on their bodies, the Bihar police said, NDTV reported.

The accused, Bhante Shangpriya Sujay, a resident of Assam, has been running the meditation centre for the past few years at Bodh Gaya, 110 km from Patna.

The incident came to light after the children, most of them from Assam and between six and 14 years old, rang their parents back home detailing the abuse they have been subjected to at the meditation centre, the police said.

A first information report or FIR has been filed with Bodh Gaya police station, and the statements of the children and their parents have been recorded, the police said. A medical test of the children will be done.

The head monk allegedly called the children to his bedroom and sexually abused them, and if they did not obey him, he thrashed them, the complaint said.

The police are also investigating to find out the affiliation and funding of the non-profit group that has been running the meditation centre. Several shelter homes run by non-profits in Bihar have come under the scanner of the authorities after over 30 girls were raped at a facility in Muzaffarpur. Girls as young as seven were drugged, raped, forced to sleep naked and scalded with boiling water at the government-run shelter home in Bihar, dubbed the house of horrors.

The girls were raped in the Muzaffarpur home by its politically connected owner and its staff, the police charge-sheet said.

Ten people, including owner Brajesh Thakur, have been charged in the document that details a network of police, politicians, administration and criminals exploiting and torturing the girls at the home.

Brajesh Thakur runs several non-profits. The youngest to be raped in the home was a seven-year-old mute child. 

The police questioned 48 girls for the charge-sheet, which chronicles the torture, assault and depravity that the shelter home meant for its young inmates.

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