National

Shelter home case ‘shameful’: Nitish

Patna, Aug 3 (PTI): | Publish Date: 8/4/2018 2:32:01 AM IST

 Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today expressed remorse over the sexual abuse of girls at a state-funded shelter home in Muzaffarpur and asserted that he would ensure the rule of law prevailed in the state.

Breaking his silence over the sordid episode, the chief minister said those guilty of transgressions would not be spared.

He was addressing a function organised here to launch the ‘Mukhyamantri Kanya Utthan Yojana’, a scheme for the welfare of girls.

I am anguished over the shameful incident that has taken place at Muzaffarpur. I am suffering from pangs of guilt. What types of perverts inhabit our society... all the people of Bihar feel a sense of shame over such a horrific incident, Kumar said.

The CBI is investigating the matter. I have also asked the advocate general to request the Patna High Court for monitoring the case so that the probe remains transparent and none of the guilty is spared, he said.

Acts like these are heinous sins committed by individuals. But the entire system comes to bear the stigma. I have, therefore, stressed on the need for removing flaws in the system which leave scope for such transgressions. I have issued instructions to this effect at a meeting held recently with the chief secretary, director general of police and the principal secretary, Social Welfare Department, the JD(U) chief said. 

We need to be alert and develop a transparent mechanism which ensures that information of any such unfortunate incident is received in time, Kumar said.

The Muzaffarpur shelter home incident had come to light in a social audit conducted by Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences. 

An FIR was lodged by the state social welfare department in June, which led to the arrest of 10 people.

Medical reports have confirmed sexual abuse of more than 30 girls formerly lodged at the shelter home, which has since been sealed. The case was handed over to the CBI last week.

Underscoring his government’s commitment to the welfare of girls, the chief minister said the amount paid to each beneficiary under his famous bicycle scheme has been raised from Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000, adding there has been a similar hike in the assistance provided for purchase of school uniforms and sanitary napkins.

Under the Mukhyamantri Kanya Utthan Yojana, class 12 pass out girls will be provided financial assistance so that their parents allow them to pursue higher studies and refrain from marrying them off before they attain adulthood.

Kumar also launched a mobile application for the new scheme besides handing over cheques to a number of girl students under various government initiatives.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma, Education Minister Krishnanndan Prasad Verma and Health Minister Mangal Pandey were also present at the event. 

Meanwhile, unruly scenes were witnessed outside the Adhiweshan Bhavan (venue of the event) as security guards of Verma reportedly roughed up some journalists, who had approached the minister with queries about alleged involvement of her husband in the Muzaffarpur case and the opposition’s demand for her resignation.

The minister snapped and made some incomprehensible utterances before entering her car, while her security guards pushed and shoved reporters and cameramen who were trying to elicit a response.

Verma’s husband has been accused of being a regular visitor at the shelter home by the wife of a district-level official in Muzaffarpur, who is among those arrested in connection with the case.

The Bihar chief minister, popularly called ‘Sushasan Babu’ (for giving good governance in the state in the past), has been facing sharp attacks from opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) over the Muzaffarpur case.

The state government has faced flak for providing financial assistance to the NGO (running the infamous shelter home) without doing a background check.  

It is also criticised for providing advertisements to newspapers owned by the main accused, Brajesh Thakur.

Left organisations supported by the RJD, Congress along with smaller parties like Hindustani Awam Morcha, Loktantrik Janta Dal (floated by former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav) and NCP had observed a day-long state band yesterday over the Muzaffarpur incident and also alleged atrocities against Dalits.

Meanwhile, the ruling JD(U) hit back at the Leader of  Opposition in the state assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, who has been criticising the government over the scandal and announced to hold a dharna at New Delhi tomorrow.

At a joint press conference, JD(U) MLC Neeraj Kumar and spokesman Sanjay Singh alleged that a person against whom a charge sheet had been filed in connection with an immoral trafficking case was appointed as Yadav’s personal assistant when the latter was the deputy chief minister.

The JD(U) leaders also claimed that ‘Pratah Kamal’, a Hindi daily run by Brajesh Thakur, had been getting government advertisements since 1990s when Yadav’s father Lalu Prasad was the chief minister of the state.


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