Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has ordered an inspection of all shelter homes in Odisha, a fortnight after an alleged sexual abuse of minor girls in such an accommodation in Dhenkanal district came to light.
In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Ms Gandhi said, "I strongly believe that the concerned authorities must assume moral responsibility for this incident. I have asked Secretary, Ministry of WCD to get an inquiry conducted in this," she said.
"I have also asked (the) National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to get all the homes in Odisha inspected immediately," she added.
An NGO-run shelter home in Beltikiri village of Dhenkanal -- 106 km from Bhubaneswar -- was sealed last Sunday and two people, including its managing director, had been arrested following allegations of sexual harassment.
"It is a matter of regret that the district administration has no knowledge about how it functions, despite the fact that it is only 10 km away from the district headquarters," Ms Gandhi said, adding that the license of the shelter home in question had expired in October.
The minister said there were also reports of "religious conversions" at the shelter homes run by the NGO.
Most of its shelter homes have been functioning without registration since the last two years, she pointed out.
The minister alleged that the state government had failed to provide security to women and children.
Earlier in the day, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought the Centre's intervention in the matter.
"I sincerely urge you to take exemplary action against the perpetrators of this heinous crime in order to stop the illegal functioning of the shelter home," Mr Pradhan wrote in a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.