National Women’s Body Asks Odisha Govt To Look Into Girls’ Safety In Educational Institutions

Bhubaneswar: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has asked the Odisha government to form committees at district levels to receive complaints of sexual harassment from establishments, especially where there are no internal complaints committees.

NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma urged Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra to take all preventive measures to stop such cases on campuses.

She asked Mahapatra to ensure strict implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 on campuses and direct all coaching centres to prevent sexual harassment of girl students either from male teachers or students.

It is pertinent to mention here that a minor girl was sexually harassed and ragged by a group of 12 students on the campus of Binayak Acharya Government College in Berhampur two months ago. Although the incident was first investigated for ragging, the sexual harassment angle was probed after the girl filed a complaint.

Four days after this incident, a girl student of Khallikote Junior College filed a harassment complaint against her seniors and also alleged that this was a regular affair on the campus.

Sharma called for awareness drives on campuses and workplaces to improve reporting of sexual harassment cases. She also urged Mahapatra to ensure that all coaching centres are registered and do a background check of individuals running these facilities.

A nodal officer should be designated at every block and tehsil to receive complaints and forward them to the local committee, she said.

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