With Odisha government admitting pregnancy of 16 inmates of state-run residential schools, BJP and Congress MLAs on Friday asked Odisha ST, SC Minister Jagannath Saraka to withdraw his previous statement that the girls were abused when they had gone home on leave.
While replying a written question, the minister told the Assembly that at least 16 girls of state run residential schools located in different districts become pregnant between 2009 and 2018.
Earlier last week, the minister had informed the Assembly that three girls of state run residential schools in Bhubaneswar, Dhenkanal and Mayurbhanj were found to be pregnant by June 2019.
The minister also claimed that the girls were abused when they had gone home on leave. Their pregnancy had nothing to do with their stay in hostels, Saraka had said. However, the opposition Friday got an arm to grind the government when the minister through a written reply admitted that 16 girls become pregnant in last 10 year.
The minister has also admitted that action has been taken against the accused persons responsible for impregnating the girls.
Saraka also admitted that some teachers involved in the case have been dismissed or suspended over the girls pregnancy.
"Now, the minister's reply has proved that the girls were made pregnant when in residential schools. Therefore, he should withdraw the earlier statement that girls were abused when on leave," Congress member Taraprasad Bahinipati said.
Bahinipati also cited the instance of a girl's recent pregnancy at a residential school in Belghar of Kandhamal district. He said a girl at Nandapur residential school in Koraput district was made pregnant by the school headmaster.
The issue was raised by opposition chief whip Mohan Majhi of BJP who alleged that the state government was responsible for the plights of tribal and dalit girls staying in different residential schools.
BJP member Mukesh Mahaling said the basic human rights of girls in residential schools are being violated as they have been staying in unhygienic condition.
"A residential school at Loisingha in Bolangir district is overcrowded. There are only six toilets for 132 inmates," he said adding that the girls are feed only "Pakhal" (rice water) and "Alu" (potato).
BJP MLA Sanatan Bijuli demanded that only women teachers should be in charge of residential schools.
Earlier, the minister had informed the House that 5.93 lakh tribal and dalit students of whom 3.30 lakh are girls, stay in 1670 in state-run residential hostels run by his department.
He said the state government has engaged 3,000 matrons in tribal girls' hostels for the safety of inmates. Similarly, 336 ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery) have been appointed to look after the health issues of female inmates in the residential schools, the minister said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)