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Supreme Court takes up ‘mass rape’ in Bihar shelter home after letter from activist

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Court directs TISS to submit a copy of its audit report that unearthed sexual exploitation of 34 girls in a state-run shelter.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday took cognisance of the alleged mass rape of 34 girls in a government-run shelter in Bihar based on a letter written by a local activist to Justice Madan Lokur.

On 31 July, activist Ranvijay wrote a letter to Justice Lokur, who is also the chairperson of the Juvenile Justice Monitoring Committee set up by the SC, seeking the court’s intervention and help in protecting the victims from further trauma.

Also read: This ordinary Tohana temple is where Baba Amarpuri allegedly raped and filmed 60 women

In his letter, Ranvijay highlighted the incident where 34 of the 44 girls staying at Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti were allegedly sexually exploited. He submitted that the incident came to light during an audit conducted by the state social welfare department of all its child care institutions through Koshish, a project undertaken by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).

The apex court has directed TISS to submit a copy of the audit report.

Upon receiving the letter, Justice Lokur took note of the seriousness of the situation and converted it into a plea that was listed for Thursday.

Seeking help for the “voiceless”, Ranvijay said in his letter that the victims had to relive the trauma multiple times as different agencies used their own methods of questioning. He also alleged insensitivity on the part of district agencies which came to investigate the matter.

“All the agencies in Bihar that are looking into this issue come to question the girls daily… No care taken to understand their trauma,” Ranvijay told ThePrint.

All efforts to counsel the victims get negated and their continued interrogation is having a negative effect on them,” he added.

Also read: When patriarchy meets smartphone pornography: Why tiny Haryana is India’s rape capital

Ranvijay also pointed out that since most officials use their personal phones to record the statements of the girls, there is a risk of those getting leaked on social media platforms.

The petitioner also expressed apprehension about whether the CBI, which has taken over the probe, will be successful in its task.

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  1. Is the chief minister of Bihar, once considered to be a good administrator, asleep at the wheel ? Although this is a horrific crime, there is nothing so complicated to investigate that it requires to be given to the CBI, beyond an admission that the state police cannot be expected to be fair and impartial. Not one tweet from the galaxy of senior lady functionaries who are otherwise so prolific.

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