Mrunal Manmay Dash

Taking suo-motu cognizance of the well-being of students at the Sunshine English Medium School and Higher Secondary School at Mahaling in Kalahandi, the Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) issued a notice to Kalahandi SP on Tuesday seeking action-taken report within seven days.

The Commission said it is under the impression that the guidelines issued by the Odisha Women and Child Development Department for ensuring a child safe environment in institutions where children are housed or study are not adhered to in both these institutions.

The panel asked the SP to produce an action taken report on compliance of the State government and NCPCR guidelines in these two specific institutions i.e. Sunshine Public School and Anchalika Mahavidyalaya, Mahaling.

Similarly, the SP has been asked to apprise the status of the implementation of these two guidelines in other such institutions in the district and the step taken/to be taken to ensure implementation of these guidelines.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Women and Child Development Department, Government of Odisha on August 23, 2014 had issued a guideline for ensuring a child safe environment in institutions where children are housed and/or study. Apart from that the National Commission for Protection of Children (NCPCR) also has a regulatory guideline for hostel of educational institutions for children.

The Commission is empowered to monitor the effective implementation of child related laws more specifically the three important enactments i.e. Right of children to free and compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act 2009, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015.

Meanwhile, several students in the educational institute have now opted for transfer from the college in view of safety and citing threat to their lives.

Following the exposure of Gobinda Sahu, the mastermind in the murder case of the lady teacher of Sunshine Public School and a contractor-turned-edu entrepreneur who ran the college, students and their parents at Mahaling Regional College in the district have sought immediate Transfer Certificate (TC) from the institution.

As per the latest reports, over 50 students have applied for TC from the college caught in the turbulence of the sensational scandal. Sources said, Gobinda and his associates, allegedly operated a 'sex racket' at the college. And the Minister of State for Home Dibya Shankar Mishra has also been accused of being a regular visitor to the college.