Robbed of rights, women here make stealthy trips to open loo

Village blues in city

Robbed of rights, women here make stealthy trips to open loo

At the break of dawn, a group of women is seen carrying a bucket of water and walking towards the railway track. Some also carry a stick in their hand. Women and men across age groups are forced to defecate in the open with no toilets in their houses.

It might occur to many that this is an everyday happening in rural India. Hard it could be to believe that this is well within the city limits. But, this is a daily scene at Khatanagar in Jalahalli.

“We do not have toilets built inside the house. We take a bucket of water, walk to the railway track and defecate there. The women go to one part of the track and the men to the other,” said Velu, a resident of one of the slums in the area.

Children and women in the area said that it was a nightmarish experience at times with stalkers coming by. Residents said that a week ago, they were involved in a brawl with two drunk men on a bike who tried to stalk some women as they stepped out late in the night.

“We choose to go when it is dark. We walk down to the tracks either early in the morning or late in the night when there are no lights. There have been instances when men come and flash the torchlight in their mobile phones at us. We are scared, but we have no choice,” said Shakti (name changed), a class seven student.

When this reporter visited the spot, it was noticed that a public toilet is constructed on the opposite side of the road. However, with construction debris all around, residents find it tough to even make their way to it.

‘Strange insects’

“The place is covered with bushes. We have spotted strange insects and snakes around the place. The doors do not lock. There is no water. What is the point in using the toilet?” questioned Neelamma, another resident of the area.

Even as the toilet was built, no one was deployed for its maintenance, said the residents.

“Just days after it was built, the drainage got blocked. A few days later, the taps from there were stolen and there was no water supply,” complained a senior citizen.

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