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Odisha: Minor delivers baby in school hostel, six employees disengaged

Odisha: Minor delivers baby in school hostel, six employees disengaged

Phulbani/Bhubaneswar: A minor student of a state-run tribal residential school in Odisha's Kandhamal district has given birth in her hostel, following which six of its employees were 'disengaged', officials said on Sunday.

The 14-year-old girl, a student of class eight, delivered a baby girl in the school hostel on Saturday night, Kandhamal District Welfare Officer (DWO) Charulata Mallick said.

The school, Seva Ashram High School, at Daringbadi in Kandhamal district is run by the SC and ST development department of Odisha.

The student and her new born were on Sunday admitted to Phulbani sub-divisional hospital. Doctors said their condition was normal. With the government facing sharp criticism from the opposition over the incident, SC and ST Development Minister Ramesh Majhi said the district collector had been asked to probe the incident and submit a detailed report on the circumstances under which the girl got pregnant and delivered the baby.

"The government has taken a serious view of the incident," he said in Bhubaneswar.

Stringent action would be taken against those responsible. The police are also investigating the matter, he added.

Mallick said a third year student of Daringbadi College, who is a resident of Takalmaha village, has been arrested in connection with the incident.

District Collector D Brunda said two matrons, two cook-cum-attendants, a lady supervisor and an auxiliary nurse midwife of the institute were disengaged from service for dereliction of duty. The government has also recommended suspending the school headmistress Radha Rani Dalei on the same charges, Brunda said.

"As per the direction of the government we have taken stringent steps against the errant (employees) and already submitted the investigation reports to it," the district collector said. The girl on Sunday alleged that soon after she delivered the baby, the two were driven out of the hostel, forcing her to take shelter in a nearby jungle. The two were traced by Mallick and the local police on Sunday morning and taken to hospital.

The police were informed by the locals, who also staged a demonstration and put up a blockade on National Highway 59 demanding immediate arrest of the culprit and stern action against the school headmistress and the hostel warden.

The road blockade was lifted after senior officials reassured the locals. Mallick, who visited the school, said a police team interrogated several people, including the hostel superintendent. Opposition Congress and BJP launched a scathing attack on the state government over the incident.

President of state Congress women's wing Sumitra Jena demanded Majhi's resignation and said the incident proved that the BJD government had failed to provide security to girls and women. State BJP leader Rabi Naik alleged the state government was not concerned about women and girls, particularly those belonging to tribal communities.

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