Ten pa­raded around town ‘to cre­ate aware­ness’

The in­ci­dent took place in Bi­laspur, Ch­hat­tis­garh

Mid Day - - NATION -

BHOPAL: Ten peo­ple rounded up for re­liev­ing them­selves in the open were bun­dled in the mu­nic­i­pal ve­hi­cle used for trans­port­ing stray cat­tle and pa­raded around the in­dus­trial town of Bi­laspur in Ch­hat­tis­garh. Of and on, the men had to take a pledge not to re­peat their mis­take again at the top of their voice. “Khule mein sauch nahin karenge (We won’t defe­cate in the open),” they had to re­peat through the 15-km jour­ney.

The idea ap­par­ently was to get across the mes­sage about Swachh In­dia Mis­sion, a novel pro­gramme that is not just about san­i­ta­tion, but dig­nity of peo­ple as well. The mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion didn’t think there was any­thing wrong.

“Our em­ploy­ees are mak­ing them aware,” said Mithilesh Awasthi, a se­nior of­fi­cer of the Bi­laspur Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion. For the fu­ture, he said, the peo­ple caught by staffers had been is­sued “passes” that would give them free ac­cess to the public toi­let fa­cil­i­ties that run on a ‘pay-and-use ba­sis’.

“The man­ner in which th­ese peo­ple are deal­ing with peo­ple is in­hu­man... They are fer­ry­ing them in a ve­hi­cle used to take stray an­i­mals,” said Sheikh Nasirud­din, leader of op­po­si­tion of the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion where the BJP is in power.

PIC/TWIT­TER

Lo­cal Congress lead­ers said they wel­comed the pro­gramme but this was no way to treat peo­ple.

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