PATNA: Pressures have suddenly shifted to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar now that social welfare minister Manju Verma has resigned over the infamous shelter home sex scandal, bringing a huge embarrassment to the state.
This was the first time in the state that girl inmates in such a large numbers were allegedly gang-raped in a government-run shelter home functioning in Muzaffarpur town. An official report has confirmed as many as 34 girls aged between seven and 14 years were raped for years in the care home.
The opposition now is seeking resignation of the chief minister, alleging such incident couldn’t have taken place without the alleged tacit backing of the government.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) vice-president and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi today questioned the continuance of chief minister on the throne in the aftermath of horrible mass rapes of little girls and said the latter doesn’t deserve to stay in office ever for a second.
“Nitish Kumar should quit immediately. Only the resignation of Manju Verma (who was serving as social welfare minister in the government) won’t suffice. The chief minister will have to go too,” Rabri Devi demanded, speaking to a TV news channel on Friday. The social welfare minister resigned on Wednesday after the name of her husband surfaced in the incident.
Launching a scathing attack on the ruling regime, she held the chief minister “responsible” for all the horrors. “The chief minister is guilty. The mass rape (of girls) has taken place right under his eyes, in his government’s home,” she stated adding the chief minister should be ashamed of the shameful act and quit.
“Our little daughters were drugged, injected and raped…it’s very horrible. My head hangs in shame but the chief minister is not ashamed of it and is firmly seated on the throne,” she said.
“I’m wondering how the government didn’t get a hint of such dirty act in the shelter home. How can the chief minister escape from his responsibility by simply stating that he was not aware about it? Why he was not aware about this when he was routinely holding review meetings of every department? Why didn’t he review the functioning of the social welfare department and if he did, then how did his government release funds?” asked Rabri, wife of RJD chief and former federal railway minister Lalu Prasad now out on bail in fodder scam case.
The CPI-ML headed by Dipankar Bhattacharya too sought for resignation of the chief minister.
“The resignation of social welfare minister Manju Verma is not enough. Only one player is out now…the entire team will have to go,” Bhattacharya told a press conference here yesterday.
According to him, as many as 500 girls were registered with the Muzaffarpur-based shelter home since 2013 but the government talks about the presence of only 49 girls now.
“So what happened to the remaining girls lodged there? The government must release a detailed report about the whereabouts of the remaining about 450 girls?” Bhattacharya asked.
Another left party, the CPI also puts pressures on the chief minister for his resignation. “The chief minister has failed to protect the dignity of the women and hence he must resign on moral grounds,” CPI’s state secretary Satya Narayan Singh said.
But the JD-U has ruled out resignation of the chief minister over the issue.
“Nitish Kumar won’t resign, nor we will allow him to do that. If the opposition has the guts, he should unseat him in the Bihar assembly,” JD-U spokesperson KC Tyagi has told the media. Instead, he questioned the opposition dharma at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and asked how can rape of young girls which has shamed everyone could be an issue for opposition parties to unite against the NDA.
The chief minister himself has ridiculed the opposition protest and laughed loudly at his Press conference held earlier this week.