POLICE in eastern India were Monday (23) digging up the grounds of a state-run children’s home after allegations that more than 40 girls were sexually assaulted and one was killed there.
Police secured a court order to excavate the grounds of the home for destitute girls in the city of Muzaffarpur in Bihar state after one of the victims said she had seen staff beat an inmate to death.
“We are searching the premises to locate the remains,” police Inspector General Sunil Kumar told a news source.
Kumar said forensic experts and police were overseeing the digging by earthmover machines around spots identified by the witness.
The scandal came to light in May after a Mumbai-based social institute released a report detailing serial abuse and exploitation at the home.
The report cited interviews with the victims in which they narrated horrific treatment at the hands of their caregivers.
Medical examinations of the girls have confirmed the rape of at least 29 of them aged between seven and 17. The reports of the remainder are awaited.
Some of the girls said they were forced to sleep naked with the head of the shelter and abused by her over a period of months.
Ten people, including female staff members and district child welfare officers, have been arrested so far, Muzaffarpur police chief Harpreet Singh told a news source.
The exploitation of girls at the state-run home has caused outrage and demands for better security and facilities.
Sexual and physical abuse at government homes are not uncommon across the country.
Last year police in New Delhi charged officials with injecting the growth hormone oxytocin in at least 10 girls and molesting them at a home.
And more than 100 women and girls alleged abuse by their caretakers in the northern state of Haryana in 2012.