Girls of State-Run Residential Schools Abused When They Were on Leave, Says Odisha Minister
Odisha speaker S N Patro had asked the minister to issue a statement in the House after opposition alleged that the girls in state-run hostels were sexually abused and attempts were being made to suppress the matter.
Bhubaneswar: Three minor inmates of a state-run residential school have been sexually exploited this year, Odisha minister Jagannath Saraka told the assembly on Friday, insisting that the girls were abused when they had gone home on leave.
Speaker S N Patro, on July 2, had asked the minister to issue a statement in the House after Congress member Narasingha Mishra and BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi, referring to newspaper reports, alleged that the girls in state-run hostels were sexually abused. Mishra had also said that attempts were being made to suppress the matter.
"Two school girls from Dhenkanal and Mayurbhanj districts were subjected to sexual abuse during their stay in native places. In another case, a girl was found to be pregnant after she came back from her summer vacation," the ST & SC development, minorities & backward classes welfare minister said.
Talking about reports of pregnancy from a residential school in Bhubaneswar, the minister said only one case has been confirmed.
"Of the four reports, only one case has been confirmed at Capital Hospital here. The test reports by a mobile health team of the Rastriya Bal Sewasthya Karyakram had initially indicated that four girls were pregnant. Later, medical examination confirmed that only one of them was pregnant," Saraka said.
The police had on Monday arrested one person from Bhubaneswar on the charge of raping and impregnating the minor girl of the state-run tribal hostel.
Asserting that the Naveen Patnaik-led government has taken adequate measures for the safety, security and well-being of the inmates, the minister said about 3.30 lakh girls belonging to the ST and SC communities live in state-run residential hostels run by his department.
"The state government has engaged 3,000 matrons in tribal girls' hostels for the safety of inmates. Similarly, 336 ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery) have been appointed to look after the health issues of female inmates in the residential schools," he said.
Steps are being taken to impart life skill training to girls with an objective to raise awareness on their safety and security, he told the House.
"All residential hostels will be under CCTV scanner. A total of 1120 CCTVs will be installed on the premises of girls' hostels. A 24-hour helpline has also been activated for the girls," he added.
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