Bengaluru( Aryavarth): In a country like ours, where people have to run from one police station to another to get an FIR registered, two-state polices squabbling over investigations is a novel change. The Sushant incident took place in Mumbai, and Bihar police have sprung into action and also lodged an FIR and dispatched an IPS office to investigate it too.
CM, Nitish Kumar has his eyes fixed on elections and is trying to hide his Government’s failure in controlling Corona, flood situation or creating jobs. Politics is an art of deflection and how knows it better than Mr Nitish Kumar. He has done flip flops from being a staunch opponent of PM Modi to being in his cabinet, from being with Lallu to becoming his staunch opposer and then again creating a government with him. The quickness with which the political establishment in Bihar, both BJP and its partner is acting on the Sushant matter is unheard off in Bihar’s corridors. Both parties were sleeping when migrant labourer’s and students were stuck across the country, and they refused to act even after repeated frantic calls from Students in Kota, Rajasthan.
If CM Kumar were to use the same speed and action in Bihar, the state would see less horrible incidents. Here are two matters, which show the apathy of police action under his nose.
Gang Rape Victim Turned Away
In Dec 2019, a shocking case of police apathy was reported from Hajipur in Bihar where a gang-rape victim was shooed away by the police personal when she approached them to file her complaint. The station did not come under the jurisdiction of the area where the crime was committed, was the excuse given by police officials. This horrible incident comes in the light of the ruling that no sexual abuse survivor can be turned away, citing the ‘jurisdiction’ excuse.
Muzaffarpur Girl Shelter Home Gang Rape Case
The Muzaffarpur girl shelter home rape case had come to notice after (TISS), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai submitted the audit report to the Bihar government in April 2018, documenting how minor girls were sexullay abused in the shelter homes in Bihar for the first time. The seven-member team, led by TISS professor Mohd Tarique, had blown the lid. At least 34 inmates were drugged and raped, according to law enforcement agencies. The Central Bureau of Investigation, in its charge sheet filed in December 2018, alleged that the main accused, Brajesh Thakur, had coerced girls to dance to vulgar songs and have sexual intercourse with guests.
The Nitish government, even in this horrible matter of rape of underage girls, took no action for months. After about two months, on May 26, 2018, the TISS report was forwarded to the Director of Bihar’s Social Welfare department. Only on May 31, 2018, an SIT was formed to investigate the matter, after matter raised alarm at the national level. 46 Minor girls were rescued, and shelter home was sealed only on June 14 2018, months after the incident came to light. Was this action correct, shouldn’t they have acted faster, especially when minor girls were raped?
The Government and police were going soft on the cases. After seeing this inaction, the Supreme Court had pulled up Bihar government on its failure to lodge appropriate criminal cases in connection with the alleged physical and sexual abuse of inmates in 17 shelter homes in the state as per TISS, Mumbai report.
The bench of Justice Madan B Lokur, Supreme Court had said, “What are you (Bihar govt) doing? It’s shameful. If the child is sodomised, you say it’s nothing? How can you do this? It’s inhuman. We were told that matter will be looked with great seriousness; this is seriousness? Every time I read this file, it’s tragic.”
Favouring the CBI probe in the case, the court said, “There seems to be much more than what is in the surface. Bihar police can’t arrest people and file FIR.” The affidavit filed by the TISS and report filed by the Chief Secretary of Bihar in shelter home depicts horrifying details of sexual abuse in shelter homes in Bihar, the court observed.
Spea on the matter, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav had claimed that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was trying his best to “brush the case under the carpet.” “It took two months to file FIR in the case, and even the name of the main accused wasn’t included. All the names coming up in the case are of those close to Nitish Kumar,” he had told ANI.
Manju Verma had stepped down as the Cabinet Minister for social welfare in August 2018, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur, the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home scandal. How Bihar runs can be seen from the fact that the CBI in the course of a police raid conducted in connection with the Muzaffarpur shelter homes rape case, found 50 live cartridges at Manju Verma’s home in Begusarai, Bihar. The former Cabinet minister of Nitish Government was not arrested till SC pushed the action.
“Fantastic! A cabinet minister is on the run, fantastic. How could a cabinet minister be absconding and nobody knows where she is? You realize the seriousness of the issue that a cabinet minister is not traceable? It’s too much,” Justice Madan B Lokur observed in the Supreme Court.
“We are quite shocked that a former cabinet minister cannot be traced by the police for over a month. We would like the police to tell us how such an important person is not traceable,” the bench said, asking the Director General of Police of Bihar to appear before the bench at the next hearing on November 27, 2018, and explain, if she is not caught by then.
On November 1 2018, a non-bailable warrant was issued against Verma after the Supreme Court pulled up the Bihar government and questioned why she had not been arrested. “Is the former minister above the law, and is something wrong with the Bihar government?” the SC court had asked.
Looking at inaction and soft-peddling, the Supreme Court in February 2019 transferred the case from Bihar to the POCSO ( Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Court in Saket District Court complex in Delhi. This year in February, Thakur and the 18 others have been convicted under the POCSO Act for raping and sexually abusing girls at the shelter home run by the former MLA. Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha sentenced Thakur for aggravated sexual assault under POCSO Act and gang rape.