The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought an Action Taken Report (ATR) from Chief Secretary of Odisha regarding the pregnancy of minor girls especially the students in the State.
Acting on a petition and rejoinders filed by activist and Supreme Court Lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy, the NHRC passed the order recently.
Tripathy alleged that on the pretext of giving a mobile phone, a ninth class student in Padagaon village under Adaba Police Station in Gajapati district was made pregnant by the husband of the local Sarpanch.
The continuance of sexual exploitation of minor girls, some of them are found pregnant in various state – run SC/ST residential schools has been going on unabated.
Alleging failure, negligence and inaction of the state government to act over the issue and crime committed against minor girls, Tripathy requested the NHRC to ensure legal action against the wrong doers and heavy compensation with rehabilitation of the victims with preventive measures.
“The complainant has alleged that sexual exploitation of minor girls specially belonging to SC/ST continues in Odisha. He has stated about one incident where in November, 2022 a Class 9th student was impregnated by the Sarpanch’s husband. Other incidents have also been mentioned in the complaint. Let a copy of complaint be transmitted to the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Odisha calling for an Action Taken Report on all the incidents mentioned in the complaint within eight weeks.” NHRC stated in the order.
Precautionary and corrective measures with punitive actions and rehabilitation of victims as per Guidelines of Nirbhaya case and other applicable guidelines are not being satisfactorily implemented in Odisha, the petitioner alleged.
Earlier the State authorities in the report stated that utmost priority was the education of the SC/ST poor students who constitute nearly 40% of the state’s population.
Through a network of 1670 residential schools and 6000 hostels, the government provides free education, food, clothing and accommodation to nearly 6 lakh students between the ages of 5 and 18 years of whom 60 percent are girls.