Rajasthan officials ‘photograph women defecating in public’, lynch man who objected
A case of murder has been filed against five employees of the municipal council, including its commissioner.
A group of government officials allegedly lynched a 55-year-old Muslim man for trying to stop them from photographing women defecating in public in a Rajasthan town on Friday.
Five municipal council officials – including the commissioner – allegedly kicked, punched and beat social worker Zaffar Hussein with a stick in Pratapgarh town, said a police complaint filed by his brother. The officials were out on a morning round in a slum to photograph released earlier this year put Rajasthan in the top spot in building toilets in rural areas, but showed that the state had a long way to go to completely stop open defecation by 2019, the target set under Swachh Bharat, as nearly 22% households still didn’t have access to toilets. A Swachh Bharat survey ranked Pratapgarh as 447 among 679 districts surveyed on household toilet coverage.
Mass open defecation has been linked to the spread of infectious diseases, poor health among children, and even deaths. According to World Bank estimates, losses from poor sanitation shave off about 6% of India’s GDP. A government study last year found 52% of rural population still defecated in the open and an almost equal said they preferred open defecation because it was “pleasurable, comfortable or convenient”.
(with agency inputs)