The Odisha Police on Monday detained a 23-year-old man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, ANI reported. The teenager had delivered a baby at the Adivasi school hostel in Kandhamal district she studies in on Saturday. The newborn, however, died the following day.
Superintendent of Police Prateek Singh said the accused was detained after local residents began protesting, alleging that he had raped her when she had gone to her village seven to eight months ago. The officer said tat the minor did not report the incident as she was afraid.
The teenager and her baby were allegedly thrown out of the hostel by the school administration, forcing them to seek shelter in a nearby forest, PTI reported. They were later admitted to the Baliguda sub-divisional hospital in Kandhamal, said District Welfare Officer Charulata Mallick.
They were shifted to the MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur, where the infant died. Hospital Superintendent Charana Panda said the girl was in a stable condition. The Baliguda sub-collector has started an inquiry into the incident and will submit a report in 10 days.
Meanwhile, District Collector Brundha D on Monday suspended the school’s headmistress Radharani Dalei and three women assistant superintendents. Dalei allegedly drove away the girl and her baby in order to cover up the incident, the Odisha Sun Times reported.
“As per the direction of the government, we have taken stringent steps against the errant [employees],” the collector said. “If necessary, further action will be taken.”
State government has failed miserably: Congress
A delegation of state women’s Congress wing met the girl in hospital on Monday. Pradesh Mahila Congress chief Sumitra Jena said the girl was in a state of trauma and unable to speak properly.
“It [the incident] proved that the Biju Janata Dal government had failed miserably to provide security to girls and women, mainly tribals,” said Jena, demanding the resignation of the state’s Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Minister Ramesh Majhi.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan also criticised the state government, adding that atrocities and sexual exploitation of women and minor girls were on the rise in the state due to a lack of political will and police inaction.