Odisha: Headmaster impregnates student; villagers demand feast from victim's family
The stories surrounding rape are as bizarre as the act is commonplace in India. Earlier this month, the headmaster of a tribal residential school in Odisha's Koraput district was arrested for impregnating a Class 9 tribal student of his own school. Now the villagers are demanding a community feast from the victim's family for getting their daughter pregnant before marriage.
An official probe has found that the hostel matron was also involved in the incident. It has ruled out rape, claiming that the case is that of an illicit relationship and not sexual assault. This may prevent the victim's family from getting Rs. 3 lakh from the government as financial assistance that every rape victim is entitled to under Odisha Victim Compensation Scheme, 2017.
The victim's father, a daily-wage laborer, lodged an FIR accusing 45-year-old headmaster Bidhubhushan Nayak of forcing a physical relationship with his daughter. Despite being a married man, Nayak had allegedly promised the girl's father that he would marry her. Doctors have ruled out abortion; the girl is now five months pregnant.
This is one among the many cases that have come to light in the last two years. In 2015, over 20 cases of teen pregnancies were reported from tribal residential schools across Odisha. Earlier this year, a cook of a residential school in Malkangiri was held for impregnating an 11-year-old. In August 2016, a 15-year-old in Ganjam district delivered a stillborn in a classroom.