I hope you are all well…
As you know this project mostly supports girls who have been sexually abused.
Whilst this is often at the hands of people known to them, regular supporters will know from our previous reports of the huge sex scandal in children’s homes in Bihar. These events have affected us here at Rescue Junction which is why they form part of this report.
This is from the BBC…
"The sun rose very slowly for us every morning," a girl rescued from a shelter home in India's Bihar state told an investigator recently. She had cupped her hands together forming a small bowl shape and smiled wanly.
Daylight bled easily into dusk outside, but inside the dank, windowless home, the nights seemed to be without end.
Unknown visitors, she said, would often appear in the dark and sexually assault her.
She was one of 44 girls aged between seven and 17 who lived in a three-storey house in a fetid lane in Muzaffarpur, a grubby town better known for cheap clothes, lacquered bangles and organised crime. They were orphans, runaways, trafficked and the destitute from one of India's poorest states, where 46% of the population is below 17 years of age.
On the afternoon of 30 May 2018, officials arrived at the house and asked the girls to leave. They marched silently into police vans, which drove them to three other homes elsewhere.
Alarm bells had begun ringing in March when officials received a 100-page report about the condition of shelter homes in Bihar by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), one of India's top social science schools.
Eight researchers from the Mumbai-based school had spent six months in 38 districts, visiting 110 shelter homes, the majority - 71- of them housing children. (They had also visited old age homes, short-stay homes for distressed women and adoption centres.)
The confidential report, parts of which this correspondent has seen, said the conditions at the Muzaffarpur home, run by a local newspaper owner, Brajesh Thakur, were "deplorable", and that it was being run in a "highly questionable manner".
In the aftermath of the enquires into this home over 17 children’s homes were identified where widespread terrible abuse was taking place on a regular basis including here in Gaya where Rescue Junction is situated.
Despite the words of Nitish Kumar Chief Minister of Bihar, who said that ...
the government was "ashamed" at what had occurred at the state care homes.
"The people who have done wrong, who has committed sin, that person will not be spared from any side. It does not matter who that person is. Along with this, we should work to improve the conditions," he said…
his government has faced severe criticisms from the highest court in the country ...
The Supreme Court of India has directed the CBI ( Central Bureau of Investigation) to investigate the “gamut of allegations” involving 17 Bihar shelter homes for children, destitute women, beggars and senior citizens in the aftermath of the case of sexual abuse of children in a Muzaffarpur shelter home in the State.
The CBI is already investigating the Muzaffarpur case as per the orders of the court, which slammed the Nitish Kumar government in the presence of the Bihar Chief Secretary for “not doing its job properly.”
The State, represented by advocates Gopal Singh and Manish Kumar, repeatedly urged the court to not transfer the cases to the CBI, but the court remained firm.
“If the State government had done its job properly, these cases would not have gone to the CBI. You had enough time, yet you did not do your job properly,” Justice Madan B. Lokur told the Bihar side.
The last straw was when the court realised that FIRs so far registered in these cases mention only petty offences. None of the serious offences alleged fail to find mention in the 11 FIRs so far lodged in cases of abuse and torture in the 17 shelter homes. The court, on November 27, gave the government 24 hours to repair the situation or hand over the case to the CBI.
On Wednesday, the Bihar side came up with a “communication” from a police higher-up to the investigation officer, blankly asking the latter to include some serious offences in the FIRs. The court directed the Bihar government to fulfill any request from the CBI team for additional manpower or infrastructure. It ordered that no officer in the team should be transferred during the pendency of the probe.
The probe is on going but all these terrible events have had a big effect on us here at the Junction. Our admissions have increased by 25% with many girls transferred from other homes now closed down. This appeal is for those girls and others like then who need support care and protection and we need your help now more than ever.
We are a non-governmental organisation.
But we have always worked closely with government in areas of child protection and we have achieved much. But we are never afraid to highlight abuse wherever it occurs.
By supporting this project you also support our work helping to make the community safer for all children as we act a catalyst for positive change.
Thank you and our next report will include stories from the project from the girls who have come to us..