Missing for 3 days, 16-year-old witness in Bihar shelter home case found

An eyewitness to the alleged sexual abuse at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur has been found three days after she went missing along with six others, police said.

The case was shifted to a Delhi Saket court on February 20.

A Bihar police officer said the 16-year-old, who had been shifted to another shelter home in Mokama when the abuse came to light in May, was found at the Madhubani railway station on Tuesday night. She was about to take a train to an unknown destination when she was traced.

A special investigating team (SIT) formed to trace the girl found her following specific inputs about her presence at the station. Three men, who were in touch with the girl from West Bengal over the last three days, have also been detained for interrogation, according to the SIT.

The other six girls were traced to from Darbhanga, over 100 km from Mokama, hours after from they went missing on Saturday.

“After sincere efforts by the SIT… the seventh girl was recovered from Madhubani,” Bihar’s additional director general (law and order) Amit Kumar said in a statement.

He said the circumstances of the girl’s escape were yet to be fully established. “It is early to say if the girls escaped on their own or received outside help. No evidence about the involvement of the NGO Nazareth Academy [which runs the Mokama shelter home] has surfaced so far. The SIT will soon complete the investigation and come out with all the details.”

Four of the seven girls are the survivors as well as witnesses to the sexual abuse that came to light after a Tata Institute of Social Sciences audit found that a majority of inmates at the Muzaffarpur shelter home had been sexually abused.

Medical tests later confirmed that 34 of the 42 inmates at the shelter home had been repeatedly abused. A local NGO, Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samity, had put up the 16-year-old at the shelter home. Brajesh Thakur, the SSEVS secretary who was arrested in June, is alleged to have trafficked and tortured her along with his guests. He is among at least 20 people arrested in the case.

First Published:
Feb 27, 2019 22:25 IST

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