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Out to relieve herself, woman’s throat is slit, feet chopped off in Madhya Pradesh 

The woman had gone to a jungle to relieve herself, assailants took away silver anklets that she was wearing, police said.

cities Updated: Sep 08, 2017 13:31 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Murder,Swachh Bharat
India has the highest number of people -- 540 million -- defecating in the open . Lack of toilets is not only a health hazard but also a risk to women who are attacked and assaulted when they venture out late in the evening or early in the morning. (File photo )

A 40-year-old woman’s throat was slit, her feet chopped off and silver anklets stolen when she went to relive herself in a forest in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, police said.

The murder of Geeta Ruhela, a resident of Mahabal village in Rajgarh district, highlights the challenges open defecation continues to pose to the security of women and the government’s Clean Indian plan.

Around 564 million Indians, the highest in the world, defecate in the open. More than half of rural India – 52.1% -- relieves itself in fields, forests or other open spaces.

The Swachh Bharat mission aims to put an end to the practice, which is a health risk, by October 2019 by building individual, community and cluster toilets.

The Ruhelas didn’t have one at home and walked half a kilometre to the nearest jungle.

Geeta left her home at around 7.30pm on Thursday. She was pulled away to a nearby corn field and the assailants first slit her throat and then chopped off her feet to remove the anklets, leaving her to die, police said.

Some villagers heard her cries for help and rushed to the field but found Geeta dead.

Ruhela, a milkman, returned home after his evening rounds and found his wife missing. On seeing people in the field on the outskirts of the village, he went their and saw his wife lying dead.

At least two persons were involved in the crime and could have been following Geeta when she left home, Rajgarh sub-divisional officer police DK Naik said.

A village of 800 people, Mahabal has 160 houses, 110 of them do not have toilets. Madhya Pradesh was among the worst performing states in the 2016 Swachh survey, .43,392 villages of the 52,000 still practice open defecation. The state aims to build toilets in 12.2 million houses by 2019.

Under the Swachh campaign, the government is giving subsidy for constructing toilets. Mahabal residents complain those who got toilets made where yet to receive the money.

The problem goes beyond building toilets, which in many are being used as store rooms or even shops. People consider toilets at home unhygienic and for Clean India to succeed, the mindset has to change, social activists say.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 12:17 IST