Bihar DM tells villager to ‘sell his wife for toilet’ if he could not build it for her

Aurangabad/Nalanda: A Bihar district magistrate has courted controversy by allegedly asking a villager to “sell his wife” if he could not arrange money to build a toilet at home.

District Magistrate Kanwal Tanuj purportedly made this comment while addressing a ‘Swachchata Mahasabha’ programme at Jamhor block on Friday last. The DM, however, claimed that it was a “distorted version”of his speech.

The programme was organised to create awareness for building toilets as part of ‘Swachch Bharat Abhiyan’. In a video which has gone viral on the social media, the DM was heard asking the gathering, whether anybody’s family honour was priced lower than Rs 12,000, required for building a toilet?

On this, a villager said, he did not have the requisite Rs 12,000 for constructing a toilet. On hearing this, the DM allegedly lost his cool and was heard saying, “Then go and sell your wife if you cannot afford to build a toilet at home.” The man was at the “Swachata Mahasabha” programme for seeking an advance of Rs 12,000, which is provided jointly by the central and state governments, for constructing a toilet.

The district magistrate, however, claimed it was a “distorted version” of his speech.

“It’s a distorted version of my speech that is being highlighted. The entire speech was an appeal to the men about the respect of ladies and not about showing disrespect,” the DM told PTI today in a written statement.

Meanwhile, Bihar minister for Rural Development Shrawan Kumar, whose department is associated with building toilet in every household in the state, has disapproved of such a comment.

“Everybody associated with the task of inspiring citizens to build toilets at home should hold their tongue,” Shrawan Kumar told PTI over phone from Nalanda district.

“We need to make people aware of the advantages of toilets and also tell them about the problems associated with its absence to inspire them to go for constructing toilet and not make such abrasive comment,” he said.

The minister said, as part of Nitish Kumar government’s programme to build toilet in every household, around 18 lakh toilets have been constructed in the state so far.

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