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Sharmili Mallick

Koraput: Taking suo motu cognizance into the series of incidences of sexual assaults against minor girls in various state-run residential schools across the State, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has directed the Odisha Government to conduct an inquiry into the matter and submit a report of the same within 30 days.

Based on the media reports of sexual exploitation of minor girls in residential schools in Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Dhenkanal and Jajpur districts earlier in January, the NCPCR directed the Chief Secretary to carry out an inquiry in all the institutions housing tribal children and submit a report within a month.

"The Commission is anguished over the recent cases of sexual assault of minors in residential schools in various districts of Odisha. Such regular episodes of abuse create a sense of doubt about the well being of the children living away from their families," the NCPCR letter read.

The NCPCR also instructed the Government to take steps to spread awareness on POCSO Act and sensitise children, parents, teachers, police and staff dealing with children on child sexual abuse especially in rural and tribal belts of the State.

Meanwhile, another minor girl has been impregnated on pretext of marriage by her distant relative under Dasamantapur police limits in Koraput district. The girl is reportedly an orphan and used to live with her paternal aunt.

The matter came to fore after the girl’s aunt realised about the pregnancy. When she (aunt) kept on repeatedly asking her, the girl accepted that she was in a physical relationship with the man.

Later, her aunt approached the village panchayat to settle the issue but the accused, who himself is married, denied being in relationship with the girl.

The accused was arrested after a complaint was lodged by the aunt at Dasamantapur Police Station on Tuesday. He will be forwarded to the court today, sources said.

In another incident, a girl student was found dead while another rescued in critical condition from Purubai Kanyashram, a residential school in Soro area of Balasore district on Wednesday morning.

Earlier in January, a Class VIII girl had delivered a baby in a residential school in Kandhamal district. Similarly, an inmate of a state-run residential school in Dhenkanal was reported to be pregnant. Another minor girl delivered a girl child in Jajpur district.

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