NHRC seeks report on minor student delivering baby in Odisha school

Bhubaneswar: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Monday issued a notice to the Odisha government asking it to submit a detailed report over a minor girl delivering a baby in a state-run tribal residential school in Kandhamal district.

NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that a 14-year-old girl, student of class eight, delivered a baby in a hostel of state-run tribal residential school in Kandhamal district on the 12th January.

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 and admitted to a hospital.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary 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.

The girl belongs to Scheduled Tribe, hence, the Commission would also like to know 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, it said.

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.

The district administration has also suspensded the school head-mistress on the same charges.

The Seva Ashram High School at Daringbadi area of the district is run by the SC and ST Development Department of Odisha.