Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Aug 4:
The Odisha High Court today directed the state government to apprise the court about the nature of treatment being provided to the tribal girl of Nabarangpur district, who had sustained 90 percent burn injuries after attempting suicide recently.
The directive was issued by a division bench of the court comprising acting Chief Justice Pradip Kumar Mohanty and Justice Biswajit Mohanty in response to a PIL filed by advocate and social activist Prabir Kumar Das.
The petitioner had said that Kanakdei Bhatra, a Scheduled Tribe Class-X student of Upgraded High School at Ghataguda and a native of Khutiguda village under Papadahandi block of Nabarangpur district, had set herself on fire on July 24 after her parents failed to arrange her school fees.
The girl, who suffered 95 percent burn injuries, is presently undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.
Citing another instance in which Banita Nayak, a Class VII girl student of Aska Government Girls’ High School in Ganjam district, committed suicide June 25 due to her parents’ inability to buy note books and pencil for her, the petitioner had said the aforesaid incidents amounted to violation of the basic human rights of the minor students hailing from poor families, whose parents could not afford to finance their education.
Taking note of this, the state government should exempt the students, hailing from the BPL family, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, from school fees, the PIL demanded and prayed for the immediate intervention of the court to direct the state government to institute a high level inquiry into the suicide attempted by the poor girl.
The petitioner had also asked for proper and free treatment of the girl, an impartial probe into the allegation of collection of fees/excess fees from the students of the Upgraded High School at Ghataguda and stringent action against those found guilty, exemption from school fees for the poor BPL and SC and ST students up to Class-X in the state and payment of suitable compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the victim girl or her parents.