The occasion was meant to highlight the atrocities being committed against dozens of young and helpless girls in a government-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur. But it also turned out to be a show of strength by a united opposition against the Centre’s Narendra Modi government ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
The call for protest by RJD leader and former deputy chief minister of Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav, received support from opposition parties such as the Congress, Trinamool Congress, AAP, CPI-M and CPI among others.
Leading the demonstration against the rape of 34 minors in a government-funded shelter home in Bihar, Congress President Rahul Gandhi alleged that weaker sections were under attack by the Narendra Modi government and now it would be the BJP-RSS ideology versus the rest of India.
“On one side it is the RSS-BJP ideology and on the other the rest of India,” Gandhi thundered in his brief address to the gathering of hundreds of people at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital.
Among other leaders joining the protest were Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D. Raja and rebel JD-U leader Sharad Yadav on one platform.
Gandhi added, “You see how the opposition stands united here. India stands united while the BJP and RSS stand on the other side. It will be more visible very soon. India is saying that whatever happened in the last four years was not good… There were attacks on the Indian culture. But when Indians make up their mind, no one stands a chance against them.”
Tejashwi, for his part, said that as a Bihari, I feel ashamed that there is complete lawlessness in Bihar as minors, who needed shelter, were being raped right under the nose of the government.”
“In 2013, Brajesh Thakur (the main accused) joined the JD-U. Nitish Kumar should clarify on this. The Chief Minister has even visited Thakur’s residence. The public is watching. I want to ask the people, will they choose the leader who has maintained silence on this issue? The ‘rakshas raj’ (demon’s rule) is back in Bihar,” Tejashwi was quoted by IANS.
He said there was no news of the victims who had now been shifted to another shelter home in Madhubani being run by an aide of one Sanjay Jha “who is a close aide of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar”.
Kejriwal, according to the news agency, said that “no action was taken” even when the Bihar government was alerted by some NGOs that all was not right.
“Children were being raped and government funds kept pouring in. Those who provide sanctuary to the accused are even bigger culprits… I want to warn them. Nirbhaya was raped and the UPA government was rocked. This time there are 40 such Nirbhayas (in Bihar),” Delhi Chief Minister said.
Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi said that it was shameful that “India’s introduction is given in terms of incidents of rapes”.