South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Odisha government in a case that pertains to the delivery of a baby girl by a 14-year-old student of Class 8, at the hostel of a state-run tribal residential school in Kandhamal district on 12 January.

The NHRC acted after taking suo motu cognizance of media reports regarding the incident.

The Commission has issued a notice to the government’s Chief Secretary and has asked for a detailed report on the matter within four weeks. The report, said the NHRC, should contain information regarding action taken against the guilty and relief or rehabilitation measures taken for the survivor, as well as counseling provided to her.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

After the delivery, the survivor along with her newborn, was driven out of the hostel and was forced to take shelter in a nearby jungle. The girl and her baby were traced with the help of local police on 13 January and admitted to a hospital.

“The girl belongs to Scheduled Tribe, hence, the Commission would also like to know the details of the sections under which the FIR has been registered and status of statutory relief as per provisions of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities (PoA) Rules, 1995,” read the notice.

“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,” it said.

“The state is responsible for the safety and security of the girl students residing in the residential schools. It is apparent that the school headmistress 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,” said NHRC in its notice.

Meanwhile, locals protested against the incident at Kandhamal. Superintendent of Police Prateek Singh, said, “Preliminary inquiry revealed that seven to eight months ago, when the victim went to her home, she was raped by a 23-year-old man in her village.”

“On the basis of this information, police immediately detained the accused. The administration has also taken immediate action against the school staff,” he added.

Updated On: Jan 15, 2019