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Goings on at orphanage under HC scanner

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High Court directes the State government to conduct an enquiry
The Odisha High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to conduct an enquiry into the alleged financial irregularities, sexual harassment to staff and brutal assault on inmates of a Keonjhar-based orphanage.
The High Court order came after a preliminary hearing on a PIL filed by a local public spirited person detailing the wrongdoings of the four decade old Manoj Manjari Sishu Bhawan which was set up in 1973 and the present Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra is its founder patron.
Expressing serious concern over the issue, the Division Bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice S. K. Mishra asked the State women and child development secretary to conduct an enquiry and submit a report to the Court within two weeks.
Social activist Sarat Kumar Mohanty through his counsel Sidhartha Mishra has preferred the PIL seeking a CBI enquiry or any other enquiry by any independent agency into the wrongdoings of the orphanage, which has earned dubious honour over the year.
The petitioner also pointed out even foreign interns visiting the orphanage have recorded their observations questioning about the torture and harassment meted out to the young inmates of the shelter home.
Allegations about the orphanage have also been made before the State Commission for Women (SCW) and Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC), the petitioner maintained saying for reasons best known to these agencies no action has yet been taken against the authorities of the orphanage.
Making the secretary of the orphanage Satyanarayan Mishra the respondent in the PIL, the petitioner alleges that Mishra, due to his clout in the State government, has allowed the irregularities to continue in the orphanage without any propriety even as the district Collector is its ex-officio president.
The petitioner has made strong allegations saying the women employees of the orphanage are subjected to sexual harassment and several such allegations before the authorities have gone unheeded. Similarly, the inmates are also brutally assaulted, for which many of them have made attempts to run away from the orphanage.
“At least ten inmates of the orphanage were recently rescued by the local police from a nearby railway line”, the PIL said adding that the inmates had reportedly left the orphanage with a motive to commit suicide. The PIL has also pointed out about enormous financial irregularities of the orphanage claiming that apart from getting government aid, the shelter home also receives huge funds from dubious sources and they are unaccounted for.

  • Even foreign interns visiting the orphanage have recorded their observations
  • Allegations about the orphanage have also been made before the State Commission for Women
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