New Delhi, Aug 4: Several opposition parties, led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), on Saturday held dharna and candlelight march at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to protest against the alleged sexual exploitation of minors at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur. Also Read - Not Justice For Sushant Singh Rajput, It's Justice For Gupteshwar Pandey: Rhea Chakraborty's Lawyer Reacts to Bihar DGP Taking VRS
In a show of opposition unity, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was joined by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPI leader D Raja, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav. Also Read - Bihar DGP Gupteshwar Pandey Known For 'Aukaat' Remark Takes Voluntary Retirement, Likely to Contest Upcoming Assembly Elections
Rahul Gandhi cornered the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar over women’s safety and demanded action against perpetrators in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case. Also Read - Sonia Gandhi Returns With Son Rahul From US Post Health Check-up Amid Ongoing Monsoon Session
“We have gathered here for the women of our country and we stand with them. If Nitish ji is really feeling ashamed then he should take immediate action,” said Gandhi.
The Congress chief said on one side is the ideology of the BJP and the RSS and on the other is the entire country and “this will be seen in the coming days”.
“India is saying that what has happened in the last four years, we do not like. When India makes up its mind, then no one can stand before it,” he said.
Shortly before the start of the agitation, Tejashwi Yadav demanded death penalty for Brajesh Thakur, saying that he be “hanged till death”.
“We want Brajesh Thakur to be hanged till death. If you see, the number of crimes in Bihar has increased in the past one year. Cases of gangrape are being reported back to back from various districts of the state,” he was quoted by ANI as saying.
Tejashwi also alleged that one of the victims from the shelter home had gone missing after she was shifted to a shelter home in Madhubani. “The girl who had all the information has been shifted to a shelter home kin Madhubani. After being shifted, there is no information about her. We don’t know if she is dead or has been killed or is missing,” he said.
He also accused the Bihar government of shielding Thakur, claiming that the latter was a “close aide of Nitish ji”.
Delhi CM Kejriwal recalled the protests which took place in Delhi following the December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder incident, and said that the Muzaffarpur case was that of “40 Nirbhayas”.
“This was the same Jantar Mantar. One Nirbhaya had shaken the roots of the UPA government. This is the case of 40 Nirbhayas. Many powerful leaders will lose their reign. Within three months, death penalty should be given to all the accused and the powerful leaders who are shielding them,” Kejriewal tweeted.
Yechury alleged anarchy is being sheltered by governments in BJP-ruled states.
“We need to change this government….The slogan of ‘beti bachao is now ‘save beti from BJP’,” he said.
Sharad Yadav said that these crime have taken place under the nose of the JDU-BJP government and demanded “a Supreme Court monitored probe conducted by the CBI”.
He also said that a national commission should be set up to probe such crimes across the country, including Bihar.
“The BJP is not saving the daughters of the country. It is instead busy saving cows,” he said.
On Friday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had assured that no leniency would be shown to the culprits. “I would like to assure everyone that no leniency will be show towards anyone, all those found guilty will be severely punished,” he said.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognizance in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case. It said that even morphed picture of the Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Case victims should be restrained from being published. It also issued a notice to the state government and Centre over the issue seeking a detailed reply in connection with the matter.
It must be noted that over 30 girls were allegedly raped at the centre run by one Brajesh Thakur, the chief of the state-funded NGO. The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai, to the state’s social welfare department in April. An FIR was lodged against 11 people, including Thakur on May 31. The probe has now been taken over by the CBI.
In all, sexual abuse of 34 inmates out of 42 was confirmed in their medical examination, while two others who were unwell were yet to undergo medical tests. The TISS audit report stated that many girls at the shelter home had complained of sexual abuse. A special investigation team was formed to probe the complaints. The NGO running the shelter home in Muzaffarpur was blacklisted and the girls were shifted to shelter homes in Patna and Madhubani. Women staff members of the shelter home and Thakur were among those who were arrested by the local police in connection with the case.