Bhubaneswar, July 21 (LocalWire): The inmate of a hostel in a residential school in Kandhamal district becoming pregnant has triggered a fresh row over the safety of girls in government-run educational institutions.
This incident comes close on the heels of the alleged pregnancy of a tribal girl in Bhubaneswar-based state-run hostel,In the latest case of sexual exploitation of minors, a 13-year-old tribal girl, a hostel inmate of Balighar residential school under Baliguda block of Kandhamal district was tested positive of pregnancy.
Acting on the FIR lodged by the school headmaster, police swung into action and arrested a minor boy for sexually assaulting the girl.
Police are investigating whether the victim was sexually abused at the hostel premises or outside.
Earlier a 12-year old girl staying at a hostel for tribal girls in Daringibadi block of Kandhamal district had given birth to a child on 12 January this year, sparking off a state-wide uproar.
Taking note of the gravity of the latest episode, the district administration ordered a probe. But incidents like this are continuing to recur across the state.
Minor tribal girls residing in residential schools getting impregnated has emerged as an exceedingly disturbing trend and questions are being raised on the safety of girls staying in government-run institutions.
The state government had earlier issued direction to ensure strict implementation of guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures on safety and security of boarders, safe cooking and serving, food menu chart along with code of conduct and duties of each staff to school authorities. But its implementation seems to have remained on paper only.
The child rights activists are of the view that insecure environs in the hostel have made girl children vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
In majority of the 1,200 functional residential schools for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe children, security setup is conspicuous by absence. As there are sanctioned posts of night watchmen, the lady caretakers or matrons keep vigil over the inmates. At least two cases of miscreants sneaking into hostels at night have been reported this year.
With institutions bereft of toilets in the schools, inmates defecate in the open, outside the campus. As a result, children are often exploited by miscreants, said child rights activist, Namrata Chadha.
Earlier, girls from a government-run residential school in Gadiapada in Kadhamal district walking barefoot for nearly two kilometres everyday along the treacherous hilly and forested terrain to attend nature’s call had come to light she said, adding that the fate of several of these institutions remain the same.