Delivery of baby by student in tribal residential school: NHRC issues notice to Odisha govt

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a 14-year-old girl, student of class eight, delivered a baby girl in a state-run tribal residential school in Odisha’s Kandhamal district on the 12th January, 2019.

Reportedly, after the delivery, the victim girl along with her new born baby was driven out of the hostel and she was forced to take shelter in a nearby jungle. The girl along with her new born baby was traced with the help of local police on the 13th January, 2019 and admitted to a hospital.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks regarding action taken against the guilty and relief/ rehabilitation as well as counseling provided to the victim girl.

As the girl belongs to Scheduled Tribe, the Commission also has asked details of the sections under which FIR has been registered and status of statutory relief as per provisions of the SC/ST (PoA) Rules, 1995.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, amount to gross violation of human rights of the minor girl who, apparently, became the victim of the apathy and gross negligence of the school administration. The state is responsible for the safety and security of the girl students, residing in the residential schools.  It is apparent that the school head-mistress and hostel warden have failed to protect the poor girl while she was in their custody and due to their negligence she has suffered mental agony and social stigma.

As per news report, carried today on the 14th January, 2019, a 3rd year student of the Daringbadi College, has been arrested and two matrons, two cook-cum-attendants, a lady supervisor and an auxiliary nurse midwife of the institute have been disengaged from service for dereliction of duty in connection with this incident. It is also been reported that the government has recommended suspension of the school head-mistress on the same charges.

Reportedly, Seva Ashram High School at Daringbadi area of the district is run by the SC and ST Development Department of Odisha. The Minister concerned has reportedly stated that the District Collector has been directed to probe the incident and submit a detailed report regarding circumstances under which the girl got pregnant and delivered a baby.

The locals also staged a demonstration and blocked the National Highway 59, demanding immediate arrest of the culprits and strict action against school head-mistress and the hostel warden.

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