Minor schoolgirls give birth in Odisha; authorities accused of hush-up
Two minor girls studying in residential tribal welfare schools in Odisha’s Koraput district have given birth to children, taking the number of such cases to four since January. The incidents have reflected the poor state of affair in such schools.india Updated: Mar 08, 2015 13:45 IST
Two minor girls studying in residential tribal welfare schools in Odisha’s Koraput district have given birth to children, taking the number of such cases to four since January.
Officials said on Sunday that authorities of a residential school in the district, more than 600 km southwest of Bhubaneswar, admitted a class 8 student in a local hospital on March 5 after she developed abdominal pain. She delivered a stillborn baby the same day.
The girl’s parents lodged a complaint with the police alleging that she became pregnant after being raped by a youth.
“We have started an investigation into the incident and looking for the person responsible for her pregnancy,” Jeypore sub-divisional police officer RK Senapati said.
In a similar incident, a class 8 student of another tribal residential school exclusively for girls also gave birth to a baby girl on February 27, but the school authorities allegedly suppressed the incident. It came to light after the girl’s family lodged a complaint with police on March 6.
The police have arrested a youth while Koraput collector Jamini Sarangi has suspended the headmaster of the school. The Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste development department is inquiring into both the incidents.
Minor motherhood and pregnancy of girls in tribal residential schools have become a recurring problem for the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste development department. Two other such cases were reported in January and February – one in Kandhamal and another in Koraput.
On January 23, a class 10 student of a residential school in Kandhamal district gave birth to a boy after allegedly being raped. Twelve days later, a class 6 student gave birth to a boy in her hostel at a residential school in Koraput.
Sarangi called a meeting of teachers of tribal welfare schools to sensitise them.
“Suppressing such incidents will attract strong action. We have asked the teachers to immediately inform the higher authorities if they came across such incident and take the students to hospital if needed,” she said.