BHOPAL: At a time when the government is shelling out crores of rupees to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of open defecation free (ODF) India, Dalit families in a village of Chhatarpur district in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh have alleged that they have been stopped from building toilets by powerful Patels.
The families hailing from Prajapati caste (SC) in Barakhera village of Chhatarpur district (350 km from Bhopal) also alleged that not only did the powerful Patels stop the digging for toilets outside the houses of the Prajapatis, but they have also forced the women and children to defecate inside their houses which have no toilets.
“We have to defecate in ghadas (earthen urns) inside the house. Moreover, a woman was beaten up and molested by a Patel man when she tried to go against their unwritten diktat of not going out to defecate,” said Champa Prajapati.
Three days ago, Prajapati men from Barakhera village met the Chhatarpur district panchayat chairman Rajesh Prajapati and submitted a detailed complaint.
“We were getting the pits for toilets dug on our own land outside our houses and not encroaching land of anybody else. The powerful Patel men living in front of our houses covered up all the pits with the help of local revenue department staff. Since then they have been regularly harassing us,” said Kamlesh Prajapati.
Chhatarpur panchayat chairman Rajesh Prajapati confirming that he has received the complaint said, “We’ll take up the matter with the district administration and a detailed probe will be done.”
However, when contacted in the matter by the New Indian Express on Saturday, the sub divisional magistrate (SDM) of Rajnagar, Ravindra Chokse, denied that several Prajapati families were stopped from digging toilet pits on their own land which has forced them to defecate in urns.
“We have already sent a team to the concerned village. The allegations being levelled are not true. Instead, we received a complaint that the toilets were being built on public land. Since it would block passage, the digging was stopped. We’re going to help the Prajapati families build toilets at alternate land near their houses soon,” said SDM Ravindra Chokse.