Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bihar: Rape capital of India?

Manoj Chaurasia in Patna

A series of rape incidents have rocked Bihar of late In the past two days, at least six cases of gang-rape have been reported from various parts of the state, scaring citizens. Significantly, the ruling Nitish Kumar government had returned to power after 2010 assembly elections on the plank of maintaining law and order in Bihar but the present situation appears quite more alarming as is evident from the total failures by the state administration to tackle crime against women.

In a fresh incident, a college girl was picked up by three car-borne youths in Gaya and gang-raped in the ruling vehicle before being thrown out along the national highway in far-off Kaimur district. The sensational incident took place in broad daylight on Wednesday while the 19-year-old BA part-I student of Gaya-based Gautam Buddha Mahila College was way to a coaching centre. On hearing her cries, the local villagers rushed to the spot and admitted the victim to a local government hospital from where she was handed over to her parents. She told the police that three youths dragged her into a SUV and gang-raped her into the running vehicle before being throwing her out in an unconscious state. The police have arrested two youths in this connection.

Similar incident was reported from the state capital where a Nepali girl was thrown out on the busy Bailey Road, considered the lifeline of Patna, yesterday after being gang-raped for a year. Her cries invited the attention of the passersby who admitted her to the nearby Rajvanshi Nagar’s government hospital. She told the police that she had fled her home in Nepal last year after being chided by her parents but shortly after she reached Patna, she fell into the sex racket. During her stay in Patna, she was supplied at 29 different locations of sex racketeers. Police said she had refused returning her home at Janakpur in Nepal. Meanwhile, the victim has been handed over to a women helpline.

In another incident reported from eastern Bihar’s Lakhisarai district, a class VIII girl student of a government middle school was lured by her school teacher and then raped several times until she became pregnant. The entire matter came to light when the victim’s parents admitted her to a local hospital yesterday when her labour pain started. Hurriedly, her parents brought her to a local hospital but she fainted while riding the stairs and suffered miscarriage. “The condition of the girl is very serious since she has become pregnant in a tender age…she is anaemic and urgently requires blood”, a local doctor Dr Rupa who attended the victim told reporters today.

On Tuesday, the Guwahati molestation incident was virtually repeated on the streets of Patna when a 24-year-old teacher with a private school was allegedly molested by a group of drunken youths. The girl screamed for help but none came to her rescue out of fear of ruffians as she saved herself by taking shelter inside a roadside house. The girl dressed in jean-pant was returning home on foot after the duty hours when some three youths mobbed her and began allegedly molesting her as the onlookers stayed away from help. One of the passersby who tried to rescue her was brutally assaulted by the youths. In the meantime police have registered a case against some persons in this connection. Yesterday, the main accused in the case surrendered in the court under mounting police pressures, after which he sent to jail but the increasing cases of sexual assaults on the female class have terrorised the common men.

These incidents come close on the heels of gang-rape of a teen-aged girl in Patna by some seven youths who also filmed the entire act on their mobile phone camera before getting them uploaded on the internet and circulating them in the market after making their CDs. The incident occurred in a flat in Rambha Apartment located in the high-security zone of the state capital where are situated the official bungalows of the chief minister, governor and senior government official. Reports said using these footages, the accused forced the girl submit again and again for a month until the CDs hit the markets and entire story broke. The local media has reported that the incident occurred in June itself but the police continued sitting over the case allegedly under pressures from the some big sharks whose wards were involved in the act. It is alleged son a ruling party lawmaker is involved in the act but the said lawmaker has denied it.

The police swung into action in July end only after a local news channel ran the story and telecast a portion of the story after which women rights groups hit the streets of the state capital and took out late night “candle march”, seeking action against the accused. Subsequently, the State Women Commission rushed to the victim and recorded the statement of the victim after which the case was formally lodged. 

The police, though were geared into action and arrested some of the accused only when the court of the chief judicial magistrate, Patna while taking suo moto cognizance of the case issued arrest warrant against the accused. However, the mystery boy Saurabh still remains out of the reach of the police. The entire issue figured prominently in the current monsoon session of the state assembly as the Opposition members vociferously raised the issue and continuously disrupted House proceedings, seeking for a CBI probe into the incident and punishing the culprits. The government has assured culprits will not be spared.

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