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Bihar to deploy eunuchs for security of girls, women at shelters

Move comes after several reports of sexual exploitation of inmates at various short-stay homes

Patna: The state government in Bihar headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar has planned to deploy eunuchs for the security of females at remand homes/short-stay homes, apparently alarmed at reports of sexual exploitation of inmates lodged there.

The government believes the deployment of eunuchs will not only improve security at the girls’ shelter homes but will also provide employment to eunuchs, who mostly survive on seeking alms.

“The government is working on a proposal to employ eunuchs as security guards at remand homes and short-stay homes for females,” social welfare department secretary Atul Prasad told the media Tuesday. Reports said the chief minister has liked the idea of the social welfare department and asked the department to go ahead.

According to him, a security guard was found to be involved in the rape of a girl at a short-stay home at Chapra town in Bihar, while local media also reported the sexual exploitation of several girls lodged at another shelter home running at Muzaffarpur town. “In such a situation, the eunuch guards will surely prove a better idea,” Prasad added.

During the Mughal empire, eunuchs were employed to take care of harems since being castrated males, they could not exploit women of the harems sexually.

Authorities were compelled to work on the new proposal in the light of recent incidents of rapes of females at short-stay homes. Only last week, police arrested a security guard accused of frequently raping a mentally challenged girl lodged at a shelter home at Chapra, as a result of which she became pregnant. In the aftermath of the incident, the authorities shut the shelter run by a non-government organisation, while all the 26 girls lodged there have been shifted to another shelter home in neighbouring Siwan district.

A similar incident was reported from another shelter running at Muzaffarpur town, where as many as 13 girls were found to be not in sound mental condition due to alleged repeated sexual exploitation, prompting authorities to shift all the 46 girls to other shelter homes. The incident came to light in June this year.

The sexual exploitation of girl inmates came to light after a team from Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai — which visited the shelter home in February this year to conduct a social audit of the home — reported sexual exploitation of inmates in its report to the state government.

The chief minister has taken very serious note of the alleged rapes at remand homes and ordered for stern action against the culprits. He also termed as “acts of perversion” the connivance of NGOs tasked with running the homes in the abuse.

The increasing cases of rape have become a matter of serious concern in Bihar. According to an official report, a total of 428 incidents of rape were reported until April this year, meaning at least three girls are being raped every day in the state. Last year, altogether 1,198 incidents of rapes were reported, an increase from the previous years — 1,008 incidents in 2016, 1,041 in 2015, 1,127 in 2014 and 1,128 in 2013.

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