Minor Motherhood & Pregnancy In School Hostels- A Recurring Trend

Bhubaneswar : The State government ordered a high-level inquiry after a 12-year old girl staying at a hostel for tribal girls in Daringibadi block of Odisha’s Kandhamal district gave birth to a child early morning today.

The district collector would inquire into the incident. Stringent action will be taken against the school authorities on the basis of the probe report, said Minister for ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes, Ramesh Majhi.

Taking note of the gravity of the episode, the government may have ordered a probe. But incidents of this nature continue to recur across the State over the years.

Minor motherhood and pregnancy of girls in tribal residential schools have emerged as an exceedingly disturbing trend with questions being raised of girls staying in these government-run institutions.

Cases of sexual exploitation of girl children in residential school hostels have come to the fore from across the state on several occasions. The state government had earlier issued direction to ensure strict implementation of guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Guidelines and SOP on safety and security of boarders, safe cooking and serving, food menu chart along with code of conduct and duties of the each staff were circulated to school authorities. But its implementation seems to have remained on paper only.

On January 23, 2015 a class 10 student of a residential school in Kandhamal district had given birth to a boy after allegedly being raped. Later on January 25, a class 6 student had given birth to a boy in her hostel at a residential school in Koraput.

In a similar incident, a class 8 student of another tribal residential school exclusively for girls also gave birth to a baby girl on February 27, 2015 in Kandhamal district.

On March 5, 2015, an inmate of school hostel in Kandhamal had given birth to a child.