NHRC directs Odisha not to deploy students for cleaning class room

BHUBANESWAR: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Odisha government to make adequate arrangement for cleaning the classrooms of the schools and asked not to deploy students for cleaning the classrooms.

The rights panel also issued show cause notice to the Odisha Chief Secretary seeking a reply within six weeks, as to why an amount of Rs.10,000 be not recommended to be paid to the victim Kareena by the state government.

Acting on a petition filed by rights campaigner Subash Mohapatra, the rights panel earlier had taken cognizance of a matter from Odisha’s Sonepur district and found as “a clear case of violation of human rights”.

“During the inquiry, it was found that the incident had occurred due to lack of supervision of the headmistress of the school who was solely responsible for supervising and ensuring safety and security of students. Thus, it is clear case of violation of Human Rights of the victim Kareena Begum”, the rights panel observed.

Kareena Begum, a student of the seventh standard of Government Upper Primary School, Sonepur, was locked inside her classroom while she was cleaning the classroom and the school was closed.

Later, the mother of Kareena had gone to school and heard the voice of the Kareena from her classroom. The lock of the room was broken and she was rescued, Mohapatra described the incident in his petition.

Earlier, the rights panel observed and ordered, “Additional Secretary, Government of Odisha, Department of Education and Mass Education, Government of Odisha be also asked to inform the Commission as to what punishment has been awarded to the errant headmistress after departmental inquiry.”

Sangeeta Ratha, the in-charge headmistress, was placed under suspension on 26 November 2014 and a departmental inquiry was initiated.

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