Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered two more cases against shelter homes operating in Bhagalpur and Gaya. The case has been filed upon inputs provided by Tata Institute of Social Science which last year too had unearthed large-scale exploitation of children in shelter homes of Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
According to reports, the case has been registered against Boys’ Children Home in Bhagalpur run by Rupam Pragati Samaj Samiti and House Mother Children Home in Gaya. Both the shelter homes have been accused of abusing the children, physically assaulting them and forcing them to write lewd and inappropriate messages, and also of using them as labourers. TISS has also reported that both the homes lacked proper medical facilities, in addition to the absence of proper study, food and recreation arrangements. It has also been alleged that shelter homes were not being run as per norms laid by the Juvenile Justice Act.
Since last year, CBI has been directed by Supreme Court to look into matters of illegal shelter homes in Bihar. This had come after surfacing of large scale sexual exploitation of girls at Balika Grih, a children’s home in Muzaffarpur operated by Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. The shelter home which housed girls between the ages of 7 to 17, most of whom were suffering from speech-impairment. It was reported that they were given sedatives in the dinner and raped during the night and the inmates had been brutally beaten regularly by the shelter home staff including women, who compelled the girls to have sex with the visitors.
The NGO was later revealed to be owned by Brajesh Thakur, who was reportedly going to contest the election on a Congress seat. CBI had registered cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO Act). A close relative of Brajesh Thakur, Chradehskar Verma had also appeared before CBI in December last year, in relation to the case. Verma is the husband of Manju Verma, former state minister of Bihar. Manju Verma had stepped down as the minister after it was reported that Chandrashekar Verma, has gone absconding in the wake of investigations.