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Centre orders probe into Odisha shelter home shocker

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Bhubaneswar: Taking serious note of the alleged sexual harassment of inmates in a shelter home in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district, the Centre today ordered a probe into the incident, which is making headlines for the last few days.

Describing it as “a matter of great concern”, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has asked the district administration and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights  (NCPCR) to inspect all such homes in the State.

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Gandhi wrote: “I have asked Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, to get an inquiry conducted in the case.”

Stating that she was “profusely aggrieved”, Gandhi said, “ It is shocking that such horrors were being carried out in a location which is situated only 10 km away from the Dhenkanal district collectorate and SP office.”

Coming down heavily on the State government, the Union Minister said “ how ‘Good News India’ was running these homes for past two years without registration under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015”.

“Odisha women and child development minister and district child protection officer have confirmed that the license for this shelter home and expired last month. This is a gross violation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) and highlights lack of oversight by state government authorities on statutory compliance for running a shelter home,” she wrote in her letter.

Gandhi said she got horrified to learn that the NGO in question is currently operating more than 25 shelter homes in Odisha. “ This incident is revealing of a deep and utter failure on the part of the State government in taking basic precautionary measures for safety and welfare of the children, leading to such a heinous incident,” she added.

Earlier in the day, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s intervention in the case of the sexual exploitation of minor girl inmates in a shelter home.

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