7 girls including 4 Muzaffarpur shelter case victims runaways from Mokama Baal Griha

Patna, Feb 23:
Seven girls, including five, who alleged abuse at the infamous Muzaffarpur shelter home last year, have escaped from a short stay home in Patna district, police said on Saturday.

"The girls escaped after cutting an iron window grille of a government-funded shelter home in Mokama," a police officer said.

A missing case was lodged and a probe is underway, Patna District Magistrate Kumar Ravi told the media here. A forensic team and a dog squad were rushed to the home immediately, he added.

The girls were shifted to the Mokama home after the Muzaffarpur shelter home closed in May 2018, following an audit by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences revealing that most of the 41 girls lodged in the latter place were sexually abused.

The State Police Headquarters has alerted all police stations and railway police units to be on the lookout for these girls.

Bihar's Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, however, alleged that the girls were forcibly made to flee from the Mokama home because some of them were witnesses in the shelter home rape case.

"It was a part played out to save some of the powerful people involved in Muzaffarpur horror case," the Rashtriya Janata Dal leader alleged.

The incident comes as a huge 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.

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

Brajesh Thakur, a journalist-turned-social activist heading the NGO which 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 was this month shifted to Delhi.


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