Maneka orders inspection of all Odisha shelter homes
Bhubaneswar: Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has ordered an inspection of all shelter homes in Odisha, a fortnight after allegations of sexual abuse of minor girls at a home in Dhenkanal district.
In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik last Friday, Gandhi said, "I strongly believe that the concerned authorities must assume moral responsibility for this incident. I have asked Secretary, Ministry of WCD to get an inquiry conducted in this.
"I have also asked (the) National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to get all the homes in Odisha inspected immediately."
An NGO-run shelter home in Beltikiri village of Dhenkanal -- 106 km from Bhubaneswar -- was sealed last Sunday and two people, including its managing director, had been arrested following allegations of sexual harassment.
"It is a matter of regret that the district administration has no knowledge about how it functions, despite the fact that it is only 10 km away from the district headquarters," Gandhi said, adding that the license of the shelter home in question had expired in October.
The minister said there were also reports of "religious conversions" at the shelter homes run by the NGO, pointing out that most of it had been functioning without registration since the last two years.
The minister alleged that the state government had failed in providing security to women and children.
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, too, had sought the Centre's intervention in the matter.
"I sincerely urge you to take exemplary action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime in order to stop the illegal functioning of the shelter home," Pradhan had written in a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.