Bihar rage erupts in Delhi

Protests over Muzaffarpur shelter horror

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 31.07.18
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Former MP Ali Anwar (right) and others protest outside Bihar Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday. Picture by Prem Singh 

New Delhi: Several organisations and political parties attempted to lay siege to Bihar Bhawan here on Monday in protest against 34 girls being raped at a government-funded shelter home for girls in Muzaffarpur.

The protesters from the women's and students' wing of the CPI, CPIML-Liberation, Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) as well as cadres of the RJD, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and a few civil society organisations demanded the resignation of chief minister Nitish Kumar and a court-monitored probe covering all such homes in Bihar.

"The culprits are many, the victims are many and the scenes of crime are many, yet there is only one FIR. The result is zero - there is no action on the high and mighty who were involved," said Ali Anwar Ansari, who used to be an MP from Nitish's Janata Dal United.

"The CM should resign as Bihar and India have been shamed in the world due to this," he added.

Theatre activist Arvind Gaur, whose group Asmita has been staging the anti-rape play Dastak since the agitation against the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder of a young physiotherapy student, said awareness has increased but the fear of law is still absent.

"The legal process is too slow and implementation of stronger laws are improper. Initially, during the discussion with the audience after our plays, people blamed women and movies for rape. The main change that has come about is that now people are aware and accept that such crimes are happening in our societies," Gaur said.

JAP cadres and activists of an NGO, United Against Hate, attempted to break the barricades and got into scuffles with cops.

CPI national council member Kanhaiya Kumar said: "It is a clear case of collusion of the persons in government under whose nose these crimes happened. It exposes the false claims of CM Nitish Kumar that he is a supporter of women."

He threw a veiled jab at BJP MP Roopa Ganguly, who was questioned last year in a child trafficking case in Bengal.

Kanhaiya told the gathering: "You must have seen the smiling face of Modi on hoardings, to me it seems he is mocking, with the slogan: Bahut hui mahilaon par vaar, abki baar Modi sarkar (Enough of attacks on women, it's time to vote in the Modi government)... Ladkiyon ko bechne mein BJP ke neta shaamil hain, aap logon ko yaad dila deta hoon. Ek mahila Draupadi ka role kiya karti thhi, aaj kal BJP mein Draupadi bani hui hain (BJP leaders are involved in selling women. A woman played the role of Draupadi, and is the Draupadi of the BJP today)... She calls herself a supporter of women. She is facing a human trafficking case."

National Federation of Indian Women vice-president Gargi Chakravarty said protests were happening all over India.

"It's taken two months of public pressure for the Bihar government to agree to a CBI probe. The demand for the CM's resignation may be symbolic but it is needed as he has to accept responsibility of what is happening in state-funded institutions."

Youth Congress members also attempted to gherao Union minister Smriti Irani's house and were detained by police.