A student of a state-run tribal residential school in Odisha’s Kandhamal district delivered a baby girl in her hostel, prompting the authorities to suspend six of its employees, the officials said on Sunday. A senior student has been arrested in the incident after locals launched protested, alleging a cover-up attempt.

The 14-year-old girl, a student of class eight, delivered the baby on Saturday night, Kandhamal District Welfare Officer (DWO), Charulata Mallick said. She alleged she and the baby were thrown out of the hostel and had to seek shelter in a nearby forest.

The school in Kandhamal district is run by the tribal and rural development department of Odisha.

With the government facing sharp criticism from the opposition over the incident, Odisha minister Ramesh Majhi said the district collector had been asked to probe the incident and submit a detailed report on the circumstances under which the girl got pregnant and delivered the baby.

“The government has taken a serious view of the incident,” he said in Bhubaneswar.

Ms Mallick said a third year student has been arrested over the incident.

District Collector D Brunda said two matrons, two cook-cum-attendants, a lady supervisor and an auxiliary midwife of the institute were suspended.

The government has also recommended suspending the school headmistress Radha Rani Dalei on the same charges, Mr Brunda said.

The two were traced by authorities from nearby jungle and the local police on Sunday morning and taken to hospital.

The police were informed by the locals, who also staged a demonstration and put up a blockade on National Highway 59 demanding immediate arrest of the accused and stern action against the school authorities. Opposition Congress and BJP also hit out at the state state government.


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