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Oct 22, 2012, 02.02 PM IST | Source: IBNLive.com

Those who defecate in open must be arrested: Jairam Ramesh

Just weeks after saying toilets are more important than temples, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has hit out at unsanitory conditions in trains, yet again.

Jairam Ramesh, Union minister, Rural development

Just weeks after saying toilets are more important than temples, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has hit out at unsanitory conditions in trains, yet again. He's gone on to say that women should refuse to marry into families with no bathrooms. he also said that those who defecate in open should be arrested. "Two crore passengers travel daily from railways. 50,000 coaches run on tracks daily. There are four toilets in one coach. If any person is found defecating in open, he would be punished severely," Ramesh said.

"Don't get married in a house where there is no toilet," the Rural Development and Water and Sanitation Minister said while addressing locals, majority of whom were women, at Khajuri village near Kota and cited a slogan "No toilet, no bride". "You consult the astrologers about rahu-ketu (planetary positions) to know about suitability of stars before getting married. You should also look whether there is a toilet at your groom's home before you decide to get married," he said.

Later Ramesh launched the third edition of Nirmal Bharat Yatra at Sangod, a small town, in Kota district. Launching the Yatra, he also cited a slogan, "No toilet, no bride", coined by the Haryana government to promote sanitation there. Ramesh also narrated the story of a woman- Anita Narre- who left her husband's home in Madhya Pradesh two days after marriage in protest against not having toilet there.

Noting that sanitation is an issue related to women's dignity and safety, Ramesh said the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan is a people's movement aiming to eradicate the menace of open defecation in ten years. He criticised Rajasthan for not doing enough for providing proper sanitation facilities to the people.

Pointing out that out of 9,177 Gram Panchayats, only 321 have become open defecation free in the states, Ramesh asked the state authorities to come out with a plan to make the state open defecation free in five years. Meanwhile, members of saffron outfits showed black flags to Ramesh at various places protesting against his temple and toilet remarks. The Minister had recently said that the country has more temples than toilets, leading to protests by right wing Hindu outfits.

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