Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 20:
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Odisha chief secretary to appear in person on July 25 to explain the delay in submission of action taken report (ATR)on the alleged sexual abuse of a Class- VIII girl student of Pithahata Nodal School, Barhampur ( Baleswar) by her teacher.
“Despite sufficient time and opportunity having been given, the requisite report has not been received. In these circumstances, let summons be issued for the personal appearance of Chief Secretary, Government of Odisha before the Commission on 25 July at 11 A.M. along with the requisite report,” said NHRC.
It however, said that in case the report is received on or before 18 July, the personal appearance of the chief cecretary shall stand dispensed with.
The direction of NHRC came in response of a petition filed by Subash Mohapatra, executive director of Global Human Rights Communications for not taking action against the headmistress of the school and police, who allegedly patronized the culprit involved in sexual abuse of the school girl.
The petition said that a Class- VIII girl student of Pithahata Nodal School was sexually abused by her teacher Phatu Majhi in her class room on 30 August, 2012 while she was alone in the classroom and threatened her with dire consequences if she disclosed it to anyone.
Later, the girl student and her parents complained to the headmistress but unfortunately, she neither helped the victim nor reported the matter to the police. Instead she convened a meeting of the school managing committee which asked the girl to keep quiet over the incident.
After failing to get justice from the school headmistress and managing committee members, the victim’s parents lodged a complaint with the Barhampur Police besides intimating the Nilagiri Block Development Officer and the Balasore Collector about the incident
“It is matter of great regret that police did not take action against the headmistress or the managing committee.The police registered a case only against the teacher Phutu Majhi but helped him escape from the area,” said the petition.
The petitioner also said that the inquiry report of the collector said that prior to receipt of order/direction of NHRC, an F.I.R in Berhampur police station has been lodged by victim on 06 August 2012, while the incident occurred on 30 August 2012.
“It is not true that F.I.R was lodged on 06 August 2012. How is it possible to complain to the police 24 days ahead of the incident which occurred on 30 August 2012. Further, police deliberately did not register a case of rape,” said the petitioner.
“We urge the NHRC to direct the State Government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh immediately to teh child victim, book the teacher for rape, arrest and suspend the headmistress for her role in evidence tampering and suppressing the incident and take action against the police officers’ for their dubious role in letting the offender off the hook,” said the petitioner.