Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Baleswar, June 16:
Sahadevkhunta police in Odisha’s Baleswar district today arrested two persons in connection with the alleged sexual torture of a minor girl at two short stay homes in the district.
Police arrested Itishree Mohapatra, District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) and Sukanti Panda, director of Santawana Sudhara Gruha.
On May 27, district collector Sanatan Mallik, following directives from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), had dismissed DCPO Itishree Mohapatra and Programme Officer (PO) Smitanjali Behura and ordered the sealing of short stay homes—Bapuji Seva Sadan at Mitrapur and Santwana Sudhara Home.
The collector had also ordered stopping all aid to these two short stay homes and shift the incumbents elsewhere.
It may be mentioned that the minor girl, unable to bear torture at the hands of her father, had run away from her home on November 5, 2010. She was rescued by Childline authorities from Siliguri railway station on November 7. After her rescue, the Childline authorities had handed over the minor to Bapuji Seva Sadan.
Allegedly, since her stay at Bapuji Seva Sadan, she was sexually exploited by Goura Chandra Khamari, husband of the manager of the short stay home. Later, on the advice of the District Child Welfare Officer, she was shifted to Santwana Sudhara Gruha where she was sexually exploited by Vinod Nayak with the knowledge of his wife Mamata Behera, the caretaker.
Following separate complaints on this account lodged with Nilagiri and Sahadevkhunta police stations, the police arrested Goura Chandra Khamari, Mamata Behera and Vinod Nayak and forwarded them to court.
Taking suo motu cognizance of the media reports on the allegations made by the minor girl, the NHRC conducted its own investigation into the matter and directed Baleswar collector to take necessary action on finding truth in the allegation.