Selfie with daughters: Haryana village head hailed by PM was suspended for irregularities

  • Vijay Sabharwal, Hindustan Times, Kurukshetra
  • Updated: Jun 30, 2015 17:32 IST

Sunil Jaglan, the sarpanch of Bibipur village in Jind district, who shot into limelight after his selfie with daughters idea came in for praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi has landed in the line of fire.

The sarpanch was suspended by the Jind deputy commissioner (DC) in March for irregularities in the panchayat's functioning. However, his suspension was later stayed by the Punjab and Haryana high court.

Jind district development and panchayat officer (DDPO) Rakesh Kumar said that Sunil Jaglan was suspended following a complaint that he installed a submersible tubewell from panchayat funds at a private residence rather than at a common place.

Kumar said more complaints regarding misuse and misappropriation of funds by Jaglan had been received and a departmental probe was on in this regard.

Sunil was in for more flak as a senior Kurukshetra University (KU) geography professor Mahabir Jaglan said that a survey done by KU students disputed Bibipur village's claim to fame in terms of impetus given to drive against female foeticide and efforts to bring positive social changes in the women's lives.

Professor Jaglan regretted that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had only superficial information about the status of girl child in Bibipur village in Haryana, which probably led to Modi praising its sarpanch for launching the #?SelfieWithDaughter initiative on Twitter.

Professor Jaglan, in his Facebook message on Monday, claimed that the Bibipur sarpanch has been managing to hog the limelight in the media for the past five years by launching various campaigns to save the girl child bu all these have made no difference to the girl child and the social status of women in his village.

He said that the M.Sc students of the department conducted a socio-economic survey in the village in October 2012 after the village came into limelight for the first time.

He said the survey found that the village was no better than other villages in social parameters. "The overall gender ratio in the village is 866, which is lower than the Haryana average. The worst part is that the gender ratio among infants (0 to 1 year age group) was only 510," said Prof Jaglan.

"The low infant gender ratio shows that the practice of female foeticide and systematic discrimination against the girl child was prevalent on a large scale in Bibipur," he said, citing the survey.

He said during the survey conducted over seven days, many villagers pointed out that the sarpanch came into the good books of then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda when he organised a meeting of women's khap panchayats in the village at a time when khap panchayats were at the receiving end over the issue of honour killings in the state. Soon after, a special grant of Rs 1 crore was given to the village panchayat.

Professor Jaglan said that he had then submitted the survey report to the Kurukshetra university vice-chancellor, who had released it to the media and related reports were carried in English and Hindi newspapers.

Not only this, two prominent newspapers carried editorials based on the survey report to emphasise that special grants should be given to panchayats only after proper verification of their claims, he added.

Jagan defends self

Buoyed after the PM harped on the 'selfie with daughter initiative', sarpanch Jaglan said he was doing a good work for the village and carrying out a campaign against female foeticide.

However, he alleged that despite all this, he was being harassed by the administration and politicians. "I don't know why they are against me".

He claimed that he had spent Rs 5 crore, including grants from the state and the central governments, on various works in the village during the past five years.

He, however, failed to answer questions about the sex ratio in his village for the past five years, but claimed that 19 girls were born against 16 boys during in the past year.

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