Oppn MLAs slam Odisha govt over girl episode at ashram school

Bhubaneswar: Opposition MLAs in Odisha Assembly today accused the BJD government of failing to ensure the safety of inmates of ST-SC residential schools in the wake of a minor tribal girl delivering a baby in an ashram school in Koraput district.

Participating in a discussion on an adjournment notice by Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati, they alleged that girls remained unsafe and insecure in residential schools under ST and SC development department but the state government was a silent spectator to their plight.

While Congress legislators described the incident of 12-year-old girl giving birth to a baby in a school in Jeypore area as shocking and unfortunate, Bahinipati sought resignation of the ST and SC development minister on moral grounds.

Congress members including Prafulla Majhi, Krushnachandra Sagaria and Kailash Chandra Kulesika claimed that the sevashrams and ashram schools for girl students witnessed gross mismanagement and voiced their concern over sexual exploitation of the inmates.

Besides lack of proper security and safety mechanisms, the inmates suffered due to lack of safe drinking water and other basic facilities, they said.

The opposition members also demanded stringent action against employees of these schools wherever deriliction of duty was detected.

Ruling BJD members Pramila Mallik and Padmanabh Behera underlined the need for proper arrangements for safety and security of girls studying in the residential schools, meant for tribal students, besides deployment of adequate manpower.

Replying to the discussion, ST and SC development minister Lal Bihari Himirika said the government has taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of inmates of schools under his department.

Referring to the incident, the minister told reporters outside the House that the Headmaster and Hostel Superintendent have been arrested by police.

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