4 Held in Gang Rape of Muzaffarpur Shelter Home Survivor in Bihar
All four persons named as accused in the Bettiah gang rape case have been arrested and the complainant, who claimed she was 18-years-old, turned out to be a minor, a top police officer said on Tuesday, 17 September.
Jitendra Kumar, Additional Directorate General (ADG) of Police also said that another person’s name has surfaced in the alleged crime and efforts are underway to arrest him as well.
He also said that the four accused – including two brothers – have allegedly confessed that they had sexual intercourse with the girl last week.
All the accused would be produced before a court after their interrogation, the police added.
Four men had allegedly raped the survivor in a moving vehicle in Bettiah town of West Champaran district on Friday evening, 13 September.
The Muzaffarpur shelter home had hit the headlines in 2018 after a social audit report highlighted that over 30 girls were allegedly raped at the government-aided shelter home, run by an NGO.
‘They Were Like My Brothers’
In a video, that has now emerged on Twitter, the victim can be seen saying that there were four people aboard an SUV, who forcibly took her inside their vehicle while she was passing through the area where she lives on Friday evening, and raped her in a moving vehicle.
“I was going from my home to my sister-in-law's when a Scorpio came from behind me and pulled me inside. There were four people inside with their faces covered. After a while, I forced open the veil on the faces of two of them while the other two opened them on their own. Then they forced themselves upon me. I tried to resist but then I got exhausted,” she said in the video.
The perpetrators also allegedly threatened to kill her and abduct her family members, the victim said.
FIR Filed Against 4, NCW Initiates Enquiry
On Monday morning, news agency ANI quoted Bettiah Superintendent of Police Jayant Kant as saying that an FIR has been filed against four persons.
“As per the medical report no marks of external injury have been found on her body.” he said, adding that the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team was conducting its own examination.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women on Monday formed a committee to look into the gang rape. Headed by Chairperson Rekha Sharma, they will travel to Bihar later this week on 19 to 20 September to meet the victim, the director general of police and possibly Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
“Our member from Bihar makes regular visits and escalated increasing cases of crime against women but things don't seem to improve. I'll discuss all cases in person with DGP Bihar, and also the Bihar chief minister if possible,” she said, according to an NCW tweet.
NHRC Seeks Report; SP Focuses on Tracing the Accused
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Director General of Police (DGP) of Bihar, seeking a detailed report in four weeks in the matter.
“We are not ruling out anything at this point of time, though. The girl has named all the accused in her FIR who were, admittedly, known to her since before. We are on the look out for the accused persons as we need to examine as to whether any type of deception was involved,” the SP told PTI over phone.
Asked about an audio clip that has surfaced in social media with the claim that it has voices of the four accused, besides the person driving the vehicle, while the girl was sexually assaulted close to her house, the SP said it sheds no fresh light on the case.
“The identities of the accused are not a secret. All of them have been named by her. We are concentrating on tracing and catching hold of them and to subject them to a thorough investigation,” he said.
Over 30 girls were allegedly raped at the shelter home run by Brajesh Thakur, the chief of a state-funded NGO. The alleged sexual exploitation of the girls was first highlighted in an audit report submitted by TISS to the state's social welfare department.
On 7 February 2019, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to transfer the case from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Saket District Court complex in Delhi, which would conclude the trial within six months by holding preferably day-to-day hearing.
(With Inputs from ANI and PTI)
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