Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has ordered an inspection of all shelter homes in Odisha, after allegations of sexual abuse of minor girls at a home in Dhenkanal district came to light two weeks ago.
In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik last Friday, Gandhi said, “I strongly believe that the concerned authorities must take moral responsibility for this incident. I have asked Secretary, Ministry of WCD to get an inquiry conducted in this.
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“I have also asked (the) National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to get all the homes in Odisha inspected immediately”, she said.
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,” Ms. Gandhi said, adding that the license of the shelter home in question had expired in October.
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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.