New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report about death of over 500 Scheduled Tribe girls under mysterious circumstances in the State run Ashram Schools of Maharashtra over the past decade.
Reportedly, there have been instances of sexual abuse of the girl students by the teachers and staff of these schools.
Considering the seriousness of the matter, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra calling for a detailed report in the matter within six weeks.
The Commission observed that the contents of the news report are indicative of violation of right to life and dignity of the girl students studying in these schools. It said incidents also highlight the negligence and apathy on the part of the authorities.
The Commission further observed that it seems the State Government has not taken any initiative to redress the grievance, which is a serious matter of concern because it has not submitted a report as yet to a notice issued on the October 10, 2016 on the similar allegations that 740 tribal students had died in ashramshalas in 10 years, despite a reminder on November 26, 2016.
According to a media report, a probe has revealed that the authorities keep menstruation records of the girls and conduct urine tests on them to rule out pregnancy, whenever the girls miss their periods or come back from the vacations. The probe report has questioned the rationale behind this unethical practice which is being done on minor girls without consent of their parents.
As per reports, there are nearly 1,100 State-run and aided tribal residential schools in Maharashtra, catering to 160,000 female and 230,000 male students.