Centre orders probe into sexual abuse at Dhenkanal shelter home

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Bhubaneswar: Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Saturday ordered a probe into the sexual abuse of inmates in a shelter home in Dhenkanal district.

She directed Union Women and Child Development Secretary to get an inquiry conducted in this case and submit a report. She also asked National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to inspect all the shelter homes in Odisha.

In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Maneka expressed concern over incidents of sexual harassment at the Good News India shelter home at Beltikiri and reports of illegal religious conversion.

“Investigations have revealed that the Good News India organisation running these homes in Odisha for the past two years without registration under Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015,” she said.

“It is shocking that such horrors were being carried out in a location situated only 10 km away from the Dhenkanal district Collectorate and Superintendent of Police (SP) office,” she added.

Stating that the license for this shelter home had expired last month, she said it is a gross violation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), adding,  I am horrified to learn the ‘Good News India’ NGO is currently operating more than 25 such shelter homes in Odisha.

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