Kalahandi (Odisha): An HIV-infected minor girl was allegedly raped in a shelter home in Bhawanipatna of Kalahandi district, Odisha. As per reports, the minor was staying at the shelter home ‘Prayas’ located at Bhoiguda Road in Bhawanipatna and was allegedly raped by Saroj Kumar Das, the head of Vision, the organisation which manages the shelter home.

Meanwhile, Das has refuted the allegations. He told the media that the girl was demanding money from him and when he refused to obey her, she made allegations against him.

Vision manages the shelter home meant for HIV infected minor girls. The girl who is from economically weaker family was raped by her family member two years ago.

After that shocking incident, the family came to know that she became HIV positive. Then the parents of the minor wrote to the then collector to take her in a shelter home. The District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) then produced her before the child welfare committee and she was sent to Vision two years back. 

The minor's mother has lodged a complaint to the DCPO alleging that her daughter was being raped for the past one year. The girl in her statement to the officer alleged that other girls in the same childcare institution were also being sexually assaulted.

Also read: Death penalty for POCSO convicts to combat child sex abuse

Meanwhile, in a bid to combat the rising offences on children, the Union Cabinet approved amendments to strengthen the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by including death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, besides providing stringent punishment for other crimes against minors, officials said.

The proposed changes in the POCSO Act also has provisions for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography.