No trace of missing Bihar shelter home girl, key witness in Muzaffarpur horror case

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Patna, Feb 26 (IANS) The police are yet to trace the whereabouts of one of the seven girls who had escaped from a short-stay home in Mokama in Patna district three days ago. The six other inmates were recovered by the police within 24 hours of their escape.

The missing girl, 16, a resident of a village in Dinajpur district in West Bengal, is one of the prime witnesses in the infamous Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case.

With police still in dark on her whereabouts, Bihar Director General of Police (DGP) Gupteshwar Pandey on Tuesday expressed hope that the police would recover her soon.

According to police headquarters sources here, seven specially formed teams are looking for the girl in Bihar and West Bengal for the last two days. “A team was sent to her native village but she was not found there,” a police officer said.

It may be noted that this missing girl had in her confessional statement reportedly revealed names of several persons, including top government officers and powerful politicians, who would regularly visit the Muzaffarpur shelter home.

“She had shocked police officers during the probe by revealing that main accused (in Muzaffarpur shelter home case) Brajesh Thakur often took her and some other girls out of the shelter home to unknown places where his guests sexually exploited them,” said the police officer.

Seven girls, including five, who were allegedly abused at the infamous Muzaffarpur shelter home last year, escaped from the Mokama short-stay home on Friday night. The police, however, say that most likely, these girls had not escaped but were made to flee the shelter home.

The girls were shifted to Mokama after the Muzaffarpur shelter home case surfaced in May 2018 following an audit by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which revealed that most of the 41 girls lodged in the shelter home had been sexually abused.

The incident comes as an embarrassment for the Nitish Kumar government, especially after a POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) court on February 16 directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct an inquiry into the involvement of the Chief Minister and two senior officials in the case.

Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and CPI-ML have demanded the resignation of Nitish Kumar alleging that the missing girl was made to flee from shelter home to save some powerful people involved in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case.

The Muzaffarpur horror came to light in May 2018 when the Bihar Social Welfare Department filed an FIR based on the TISS social audit.

Brajesh Thakur, a journalist-turned-social activist, who was heading the NGO that ran the shelter home, and other accused were arrested. The matter was handed over to the CBI in July last year.

Thakur has been shifted to a high-security jail in Patiala following a Supreme Court order, while other accused, including his close aides and some government officials, are lodged in jails at Patna and Muzaffarpur.

The trial of the case has been shifted to Delhi.

–IANS

ik/nir

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