Orphanage sealed, nephew of owner arrested

Rourkela: The Sundargarh district administration sealed an orphanage and a relative of its owner arrested here on Sunday following charges of sexual exploitation of its inmates.

Sarbabhowmik Sisu Anantha Ashrama (SSAA), the orphanage run by one Mahendra Bala at Basanti Colony in the city since 1970, was sealed based on the allegation made by some girls staying there.

A nephew of the owner identified as Deepak Bala was arrested for alleged sexual exploitation of girls, police said adding he has also been booked for rape.

A team of officials of the district administration and child welfare committee had visited the premises to verify its records and take stock of the situation when the matter came to light, they said.

The district collector Rupa Roshan Sahu had asked them to take stock of the situation in all the orphanages in the district and find out how they were being managed.

"We were on a regular inspection to SSAA when the heinous activity came to light. We got to know it from the horse`s mouth, said Babita Mohapatra, Chairman, Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the nodal agency in the district for all orphanages.

"We had information about such activity inside there but could not act due to lack of evidence. We thought of going for another round of verification and inspection today when a girl came out and voluntarily said all that was happening with her and other friends of her age", she said.
So far four girls have complained about sexual harassment by Deepak.