Suicide for toilet: 'I feel ashamed daddy,' Rekha had pleaded

Rekha immolated herself as her father expressed his inability to construct a toilet due to lack of space and money.

Gundala, Nalgonda: "Izzat Pothondhi Nanna (I am feeling ashamed, daddy),” is what 17-year-old K. Rekha, an intermediate student of Jagruthi College in Gundala of Nalgonda district, has been been telling her father for the past seven months.

She had been insisting that her father construct a toilet as she had to walk with a water jug to the ‘jungle like grove’ near her house to attend nature’s call.
Even the place where she bathed was open with torn saris hung to cover one side.

Depressed because her parents could not build a toilet at home, Rekha committed suicide by immolating herself on Monday. The predicament of several other college and schoolgoing young girls and women is no different from that of Rekha as at least every two of four households in Gundala of Nalgonda do not have toilet facility.

The villages in other mandals in Nalgonda face a similar situation. In fact, 48 per cent of Telangana state households face a similar problem. Narrating the pain that her daughter suffered Rekha’s mother K. Lalamma recalled that her daughter always showed the Unicef sanitation advertisement where actress Vidya Balan stresses on the need to have a toilet in every household.
She used to tell her parents: “Idanna chusi nerchukondi (learn from at least this TV ad)”.

While the nation celebrated Republic Day, Rekha’s family grieved a day after she immolated herself as her father expressed his inability due to lack of space and money to construct a toilet.

Many girls are fighting for a toilet

Breaking into tears Lalamma said, “Bathroom kavali, bathroom kavali (need a bathroom) she used to tell us each and every day.

Rekha use to say ‘Nenu chaduvkune ammaini” (I am a college-going educated girl) I need to have self-respect. She stopped going to college after the Sankranti holidays stating that she is ashamed. On attaining puberty she was more vocal.”

Belonging to BCA (washerman) community Lalamma and her husband K. Sattaih residents of Chakalivada eke out a living on daily wages and monthly labour in Gundala.

They funded the education of two daughters and a son. Rekha’s sister, 12 year-old Maheswari studying in Class VII in a local government school, said, “Akka used to weep on the toilet issue. She used to tell me at least by the time I grow up the family will have one toilet.”

Gundala mandal revenue officer T. Jangaiah, who conducted an inquiry said, “I inquired about the case. There is no individual household latrine. The girl requested her parents several times but they told her they don’t have the money".

"She insisted and tried to explain that lessons she learnt in college stated that open defecation is not good. On Monday, she argued with her father and as there was no positive response she took her life.”

College-going girls of Rekha’s age held similar views. B. Sravanthi, daughter of Bayya Bishkapati studying in second year intermediate, said, “I knew Rekha and the issue on which she ended her life. I have been asking my father for the past two years to construct a toilet".

"He has been promising. He has now constructed a new house and I will now ask him to have a toilet there.” She added, “We have a latrine in the government college, we use that. We don’t have one in the house. Several of my friends in the college have similar problem.”

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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