HC directs govt to probe rape allegations

Cuttack: Odisha High Court has issued notices to the state government to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation of tribal girls in government-run residential schools. The division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra issued notices to the state government asking the government counsel to obtain instructions within 15 days and fixed the matter to be heard again after the state government`s reply on Friday.

The HC notice came while hearing the PIL filed by social activist and lawyer Prabir Das, who is also the petitioner in sensational Pipili rape case. Das has alleged that a class IX student of a Bolangir-based government school was raped in the school by two teachers in July 2011. While a police case is pending against the two erring teachers and a woman peon of the school for helping the teachers, the girl was thrown out of the school.

"Moreover, the girl?s parents have migrated to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh in search of livelihood, leaving the girl alone at home to go through the agony and trauma," the petition said urging the High Court to interfere and direct the government to pay a damage of Rs five lakh to the victim. The petition has also sought the HC?s direction to the state government to ensure protection, rehabilitation and resumption of studies of the girl.

Besides, the petitioner has also brought to the notice of the HC about similar incidents taking place in other places. While a class-IV girl of a Koraput-based sevashram was allegedly raped by the school headmaster in October 2011, four minor girls (all of class-VIII) in Nabarangpur residential school were sexually exploited by the headmaster in 2010.