25 May, 2012
Government of Odisha
Sub: Voice of children of Lesser God
The three interns Ms. Linnea Karlsson, Ms. Sara Arrhusius and Ms. Josefine Jacobsson, from Stockholm Sweden worked at the orphanage Manoj Manjari Sishu Bhawan (MMSB) www.mmsb.org.in in Orissa during 2010- 2011.
They witnessed the cruel abuse of the children during their stay at MMSB and the children themselves professed to being brutally molested psychologically and physically. They have on a regular basis been beaten and threatened with ropes, saw blades and stones throughout their childhood. Children are molested everyday by people like Baikunta Mishra and Babula. More people in Orphanage are involved in the abuse. http://www.scribd.com/doc/94685231/Testimonies-MMSB#page=1
On that injustice the follows actions:
1. Sara Arrhusius writes a general report that briefly touches on the problems at MMSB. The report is sent to the Secretary and board members of Manoj Manjari Sishu Bhawan at the time (period between 2008-2010) and Gunilla Frankman. It was also intended for the board of MMSB.
2. Josefine Jacobsson and Linnea Karlsson send a first testimony to PM Pyrimohan Mohaptra (Founder Patron and Life Member Manoj Manjari Sishu Bhawan, Keonjhar since 1973) http://india.gov.in/govt/rajyasabhampbiodata.php?mpcode=1947 after he has asked us to send information through e-mail about the children's situation at MMSB. In the testimony they mentioned (to maltreatment of the children and then especially the boys. We have seen fresh bruises, wounds and scars from the abuse. Linnea has at some
occasions seen beating, heard punches and we have both witnessed psychological abuse.) We know that this is not just accidents but actions committed by the Super Intendent Mr. Mishra on a regular basis. As you know the French and Swedish organisations and Adoption centre in Sweden do not accept this kind of treatment of children and it is now your responsibility, when you are informed, to deal with this problem.
3. Linnea Karlsson, Sara Arrhusius and Josefine Jacobsson send separate testimonies to Swedish Adoptions centre and PVCHR.
On 8th March, 2011 Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) sent letter to National Human Rights Commission http://www.pvchr.net/2011/03/complaint-on-orphanage-violence-to-nhrc.html with a request to protect these children and do investigation in the matter at earliest. The commission directed the matter to Orissa Human Rights Commission.
On 6th August, 2011 Orissa Human Rights Commission in case no. 674 of 2011 No. 9503/OHRC in the ordered sheet that "A letter dated 30th May, 2011 has been received from the petitioner seeking information of the action taken on the order of the commission dated 28th April, 2011. Evidently the order of the commission dated 27th May, 2011 where the case was concluded had not been received by the petitioner by 30th May, 2011. On the verification of paper, it is seen that the said order of the commission has been complied on 16th July, 2011. By now he should have received the copy of the order. So no further action seems necessary." http://www.scribd.com/doc/94684635/Orissa-Human-RIghts-Commission#page=1 but before the order sheet PVCHR never received letter from Orissa Human Rights Commission for the comment.
On 11th March, 2011 letter was sent to National Commission for Protection of child right. NCPCR in letter dated 6th June, 2011 File no. OR-17011/21/975/2011-Comp stated the matter was enquired by the Collector and the district Magistrate, Keonjhar. Report in this regard has been received which categorically denies of any such incidence of misbehavior at the institution. It has also been reported that the children are happy with the arrangement made for them by the institution. http://www.scribd.com/doc/94683113/NCPCR#page=1. The enquiry was not conducted through independent agency as the founder of MMSB Shri PM Pyrimohan Mahopatra had a strong linkage in Orissa.
The 10th of March 2012 when the annual board meeting was held, the children stood up and begged for the board members to listen. They wanted to complain about their situation but were prevented from doing so. Seeing no other solution 16 children left the orphanage in protest and went to the railway station with the intention to commit suicide. We know these children very well and we cannot even imagine the extent of the desperation they most have felt when they decided to take action at the time of their final exams. After the incident local media has monitored the case.
Late in the evening police arrived to the railway station. They took the children with them and violated their authority and Indian law as they battered them. In the morning they were returned to the orphanage. This police violence against children is of great concern but the very exposed situation of these children, and then especially these 16 children, is a direct threat to their safety. We fear for their lives.
Then on the 10th May, 2012 an article published in Times of India "Sexual harassment charge against orphanage secy" http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/Sexual-harassment-charge-against-orphanage-secy/articleshow/13075414.cms that Iinmates and staff of Manoj Manjari Sishu Bhawan, an orphanage in Keonjhar, on Wednesday brought allegations of sexual harassment, physical torture and misappropriation of funds against the secretary of the institute. They lodged a complaint with the State Commission for Women and have also written to the state government. It has become difficult for women to work in the institute because of the atrocities of the secretary. We informed the collector, district social welfare officer and police about it. When no action was taken we decided to lodge a complaint with the State Commission for Women," said Parbati Jena, another employee. "The same secretary was dismissed by collector following an enquiry into alleged physical torture of inmates in 2008. But using his power he joined the institute again last year," said Jena.
Chairperson of state commission for women Jyoti Panigrahi said, "I received the petition filed by the inmates and staff of the institute. We would make a field visit and conduct an enquiry if required."
The children that has just left MMSB and are moving around in the different villages for fear of being detected by the Satya N Mishra and the others working for him. Since they are living outside they are not protected by the coverage of media and anything could happen to them.
This story came in many print and electronic media in Sweden http://www.tv4play.se/nyheter_och_debatt/nyheterna?title=systematisk_misshandel_pa_ett_barnhem_i_indien&videoid=2189920, http://www.fria.nu/artikel/93242, http://www.fria.nu/artikel/89405, http://www.barnsrattigheter.com/lotusbarnen-utelamnade-at-sitt-eget-ode/, http://www.dn.se/nyheter/sverige/adoptionscentrum-kritiseras-for-samarbete-med-indiskt-barnhem, http://soundcloud.com/linnea-karlsson/audio-recording-on-wednesday
Therefore it is a kind request to immediate conduct enquiry through independent agency and provides security to the children. As one hand the Odisha Government is doing Tribal advocacy for making Mr.P.A Sangama as President of India but other hand what is the strategy of Orissa Government for the tribal children such as sexual abuse of Tribal Children in Orphanage.
(Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi)