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Monday, June 09, 2014

ASSAULT AND ABUSE IN ORPHANAGE, ODISHA  

PIL drags Odisha Orphanage under HC scanner for alleged wrongdoings

 

"The Keonjhar based orphanage MMSB is believed to have strong clout in the political and bureaucratic circles of the state with the Governor of Odisha being its ex-officio patron-in-chief, former IAS Officer and present Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra its patron, Collector and District Magistrate of keonjhar being the ex-officio president."

 

HNF Correspondent

 
   

One of the old orphanages of Odisha, Manoj Manjari Sishu Bhawan (MMSB) has come under judicial scanner since Odisha High Court directed the State Government to conduct enquiry into the alleged abuse, brutal assault and harassment to the inmate children and the financial irregularities in the orphanage. The order came during the preliminary hearing on a PIL filed by social activist Sarat Kumar Mohanty alleging serious wrongdoings in the 40 years old orphanage and demanding a probe by CBI or any other competent investigating agency.

While bringing to the notice of the bench of Chief Justice V Gopal Gauda and Justice S K Mishra various allegations about torture and abuse to the inmates, the petitioner also highlighted how foreign interns visiting the orphanage have recorded their observations questioning the integrity of the shelter home.

 

It’s worth mentioning here that, three interns Ms. Linnea Karlsson, Ms. Sara Arrhusius and Ms. Josefine Jacobsson, from Stockholm Sweden visited the orphanage Manoj Manjari Sishu Bhawan (MMSB) in Orissa during 2010- 2011 and worked here as interns.

They witnessed the cruel abuse of the children during their stay at MMSB and the children themselves professed to being brutally molested psychologically and physically. (To read more on their observations and remarks, please visit ‘Children abused in orphanage of Odisha: Chief Minister's intervention sought by activists through open letter’)

The petitioner has also brought serious allegations like sexual harassment to women employees of the orphanage while expressing his concern over no action by various public authorities even after complaints.

While making allegation of brutal assault to the orphanage inmates, the petitioner has brought as a fact before the bench that, ‘At least ten inmates of the orphanage were recently rescued by the local police from a nearby railway line’ adding that ‘the inmates had reportedly left the orphanage with a motive to commit suicide’.

The PIL has also mentioned that the orphanage management is engaged in huge financial irregularities. As claimed in the PIL, apart from getting government aid, the orphanage receives huge funds from dubious sources that are unaccounted for.

Taking all the allegations seriously, the division bench comprising the Chief Justice and another Justice of Odisha High Court has directed the government to hold an enquiry and submit its report in two weeks.

The Keonjhar based orphanage MMSB is believed to have strong clout in the political and bureaucratic circles of the state with the Governor of Odisha being its ex-officio patron-in-chief, former IAS Officer and present Rajya Sabha MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra its patron, Collector and District Magistrate of keonjhar being the ex-officio president. (http://www.mmsb.org.in/manage.html)

(Refer to ‘Children abused in orphanage of Odisha: Chief Minister's intervention sought by activists through open letter for more about various allegations made against MMSB by different people at different times)

 

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