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Bihar district magistrate denies saying ‘sell wife if you can’t build toilet’

Kanwal Tanuj, the district magistrate of Bihar’s Aurangabad, has denied making a comment that those who cannot build toilet should sell or auction his wife.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2017 11:53 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Kanwal Tanuj,Aurangabad,Bihar
Kanwal Tanuj, the district magistrate of Bihar’s Aurangabad, addresses a public gathering in Jamhore village. (Videograb)

The district magistrate of Bihar’s Aurangabad Kanwal Tanuj has denied he made comments that those who cannot build a toilet should sell their wives, saying he was trying to appeal to the “self-respect of the people” during a drive to promote the Swacch Bharat or Clean India campaign.

News agency ANI reported that while addressing a public gathering on Saturday in Jamhore village, Tanuj said women are sexually assaulted as they go out to relieve themselves due to the lack of toilets at home and it only costs Rs 12,000 to build a toilet

“Is 12,000 more than anyone’s wife’s dignity? Who can let her wife get raped in return of Rs 12,000? If this is your mentality then go and sell your wife. Those who cannot build toilet should sell or auction his wife,” ANI quoted Tanuj as saying.

Tanuj accused the news agency of “totally distorting the issue” and said it was not playing the entire speech but only but a 20-second clip from his 25-minute address.

“We were trying to appeal to the self-respect of the people there. Many times we have said that if you defecate in the open then you will spread diseases and you will become the transmitter of the diseases ... But what we wanted to focus upon was the self-respect of the individual and self-respect associated with the female counterpart,” Tanuj told Hindustan Times over the phone.

He said he told the villagers that if people have the money to spend on various functions, liquor and tobacco then they should be able to build a toilet.

“A man disrupted my speech saying if we don’t have the money we will not build (a toilet). I think he came to provoke me... What I heard him saying was that should we save our honour or make money. Then I told him that if this is your mentality then you can go and sell your honour,” he added.

“I think this is the handiwork of some local anti-social elements... I never said that if you don’t have toilets, go and sell your wife... It is very embarrassing. No one can say something like this.”

The district magistrate said the village administration is “very excited” and “promised to take the task ahead”.

The officer was talking about the Shauchalay Nirman, Ghar Ka Samman scheme under which the Nitish Kumar government grants an aid of Rs 12,000 to people who want to build toilets in order to check open defecation.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 11:36 IST