A Class 6 girl gave birth to a child in a school hostel in Odisha's Koraput district, police said on Monday, adding the headmaster and a teacher of the school were arrested on charges of negligence and attempt to cover up the incident.
The 13-year-old girl, who was studying at a tribal welfare school in Koraput district, delivered the baby last Wednesday. She has been staying in the hostel -- at a village in Jeypore block, about 600km southwest of Bhubaneswar -- for the past two years.
Police said that the girl reportedly complained of pain to hostel superintendent Sabita Guru on Tuesday. School officials allegedly did not pay heed to the matter.
Instead of taking the girl and the baby to the hospital, the school authorities arranged a vehicle and sent them back to her village. The district administration asked a welfare extension officer to initiated a probe after it came to know about the incident on Saturday, they added.
The officer lodged a complaint at a police station against the headmaster and the teacher after the inquiry found them guilty of negligence and trying to cover up the matter without informing the authorities.
“The headmaster Kailash Chandra Brahma and hostel superintendent Guru have been arrested for negligence and trying to cover up the incident,” Jeypore Sadar sub-divisional police officer Rajendra Senapati said.
The girl told the police that a youth in her village had raped her when she had gone to her home during summer vacation last year. The search is on for the man, Senapati said.
Meanwhile, Koraput collector Jamini Sarangi has suspended both the school officials. Sarangi said it was a sensitive matter and the administration had planned a sensitization drive for teachers and other stakeholders to prevent such incidents.
Noteworthy, this is the second such incident in the past two weeks in the state.
On January 23, a Class 10 girl in Kandhamal too gave birth to a baby boy inside the hostel premises of her school. The police launched an investigation after the school authorities intimated the matter to the administration.
In this case too, the police found that the girl had allegedly been raped by her 24-year-old relative in May last year when she had gone to her village.
“We have arrested the youth and investigating if the school authorities knew about her pregnancy and tried to cover it up,” Kandhamal superintendent of police KV Singh said.
The Kandhamal district administration has suspended the headmistress of the school, Ashalata Pati, two contractual teachers and a midwife who was supposed to keep a tab on students' health.?
The state government has set up such schools with residential facilities to take care of the education and health of tribal and Dalit students. Questions are now being raised that how the school authorities failed to detect girls’ pregnancy when there supposed to be some periodic check-up sessions for students organised by the government.