The Bihar Police have started digging the premises of a government-funded shelter home for girls in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, where over 40 girls were allegedly raped for a prolonged period of time.

Following orders from a special POCSO Act court, the digging exercise is being carried out to investigate the allegations that a resident of the shelter home was beaten to death by the staff and buried on the premises.

According to reports, some residents of the home had told the police in May that a girl was killed after being repeatedly raped a few years ago. They also claimed that the murder took place in the shelter home and that the girl’s body was dumped nearby.

The alleged sexual exploitation of girls living in the Muzaffarpur shelter home came to light more than a month ago when a Mumbai-based social science institute, which had conducted an audit of the state-funded establishment run by an NGO, submitted its report.

A medical examination of the girls aged seven to 17 had confirmed that 16 of them were subjected to rape several times during their stay there.

More than 10 people, including all staff members of the shelter home and some government officials, have so far been arrested in this connection while all the inmates have been shifted to other districts.

The Nitish Kumar government has come under fire following the reports.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took to Twitter on Sunday to attack the Bihar government for its “failure” to protect the girls at the Muzaffarpur shelter home and in other places. He also alleged that the state government was protecting the accused.

“In rarest of rare case of rape in Bihar, 40 minor girls of 7 to 17 yrs were repeatedly RAPED under one roof for months in a state sponsored shelter home. Even a girl was MURDERED & BURIED in same premises. The patron of NGO is close to who’s who of govt & even campaigned with CM,” Tejashwi tweeted.

“Since March, Bihar Govt is aware abt repeated rapes committed against 40 minor inmates of Muzaffarpur Balika Shelter home by politicians, officials for years!” he added.

The RJD leader claimed that many girls in the shelter home were forced to undergo abortion.

He also alleged that the exploited girls were used as commodity by people with power, position, clout and political connections.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Tejashwi Yadav said such incidents of repeated rapes even at state sponsored shelter home “could not shake collective conscience of the nation, antaratma babu, beti bachao PM, sensationalist media and other citizens of the country”.