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Sexual harassment of minor girls in Odisha KV school: NHRC notice to HRD ministry

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 14:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the secretary, School Education in the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, to conduct an inquiry against the headmaster/principal and two teachers of the Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) in the district headquarters town Malkangiri in Odisha accused of sexual harassment  of two girl students.

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The Commission asked the secretary to take action against them as per law and send a report to it within eight weeks.

Two girl students, studying in Class V of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Malkangiri, had on January 28 this year alleged that they had been subjected to sexual harassment by the school’s Computer teacher and Physical Education teacher.

The victims had reported the matter to the school authorities, but no action was taken against the teachers. After the matter was brought to the notice of the district collector, an FIR was lodged in the Malkangiri police station resulting in the arrest of computer teacher Bidhubhushan and physical education teacher Mukesh.

Young advocate and noted human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das filed a complaint with the NHRC in the matter praying for a fair inquiry and appropriate punitive action against the guilty persons while seeking adequate relief to the victim.

Taking cognizance of the matter on February 5, 2014, the Commission issued a notice to the concerned authority, calling for a report in the matter.

In pursuance of the directions of the Commission, the SP, Malkangiri submitted a detailed report on April 22, 2014 which, among other things, said; “Both the girls were sexually harassed by a PET and a Computer Teacher against whom Malkangiri P.S. case No.22 dated 30.01.2014 u/s 294, 509, 34 IPC r/w Sec. 10, 12, 17 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and Malkangiri P.S. case No.23 dated 30.01.2014 u/s 294, 509, 34 IPC r/w Sec. 10, 12, 17 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 were registered.”

The SP said in his report that the Investigating Officer had submitted charge sheets against both the accused in each of the cases after completing investigations.

After considering the report, the Commission noted; “It is also alleged in the complaint that the matter was brought to the notice of the Principal by the victims, but he took no action. Thus, the Principal appears to be guilty of dereliction of duty”.