Sanitary pad manufacturer offers year-long supply to Bihar girl who got ‘condom’ reply from IAS officer
The Indian company's CEO said that they will bear the cost of the girl's education through her graduation as well.
The Bihar girl, who was rebuked by an IAS officer after she asked for affordable sanitary pads at a workshop aimed at “enhancing the value of girls”, has been given an offer of year-long supplies by an Indian manufacturing company.
Hariom Tyagi, CEO of Delhi-headquartered feminine hygiene firm named Wet and Dry Personal Care, said that they are “rewarding” the young girl - who is a BA student - for her “boldness to raise from a public forum the issue of easy access to menstrual hygiene methods for poor girls and women living in slums”, HT reported.
He further stated that the firm has decided to bear the expenses of the girl's education till graduation for the time being. “If in future, she wants any other help or support and we feel that this is an area where we can contribute to making her quality of life better, we will do it,” Tyagi added.
The incident occurred in Patna on Tuesday where IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bhamra publicly ridiculed the young girl after she asked if the government could provide sanitary napkins at a cost of ₹20 to ₹30. The senior official in Bihar's women development department was at a workshop that was organised in collaboration with UNICEF.
To the girl's question, Bhamra shot back saying: “Today, you want a packet of napkins free. Tomorrow you may want jeans and shoes and later, when the stage comes for family planning, you may demand free condoms as well.”
When the girl said people's votes determine who governs, the officer called the remark the “height of stupidity” and added that such people should go to Pakistan.
The incident drew major outrage on social media, with a BJP functionary Amrita Rathod taking to Twitter to take a swipe at the new JD(U)-RJD government of CM Nitish Kumar and his deputy Tejashwi Yadav. Sharing a clip of the incident on the micro-blogging site, Rathod said, “meet an IAS officer of the Nitish-Tejashwi government who asks a student to go to Pakistan for having sought sanitary pads”.
On Thursday, Bhamra apologised for her statement, saying she did not “intend to humiliate anyone or hurt anyone's sentiments”. The 1992 batch IAS officer added that the workshop was organised to create awareness among “adolescent girls about the government provisions for them”.
“We wanted to motivate them to become self-dependent and confident enough to take their own decisions about life and career. It was during this discussion I asked girls to stop asking things for free,” Bhamra said in a statement, stressing that her “intentions were not wrong”.
The IAS officer, however, did not provide an explanation for her ‘condom’ and ‘Pakistan’ remarks.
The incident caught the attention of the National Commission for Women (NCW), who took cognisance of the matter on Thursday, and sought for an explanation from Bhamra.
Meanwhile, Kumar said that he has ordered a probe into the matter after he learnt about it from the newspapers.