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Jal Shakti Ministry Issues Advisory Against 'Coercive Action' on 'Sanitation Behavior' After Shivpuri Incident

The advisory came days after a 12-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy from the Dalit community were beaten to death in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri for allegedly for defecating in the open.

News18.com

Updated:September 27, 2019, 5:40 PM IST
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Jal Shakti Ministry Issues Advisory Against 'Coercive Action' on 'Sanitation Behavior' After Shivpuri Incident
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new Delhi: The Jal Shakti Ministry has termed "any type of coercive action" by the government, elected officials of private persons with "respect to sanitation behaviour of any kind as unacceptable. In an advisory issued on Friday, the ministry said that in such cases, the authorities will "prosecute the guilty to the fullest extent of the applicable law."

The advisory came days after a 12-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy from the Dalit community were beaten to death in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri for allegedly for defecating in the open.

India is slated to declare itself open-defecation free in less than a week, on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The advisory for "adoption of non-coercive approach" under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) has been issued as a follow up of an earlier similar advisory issued on July 25, 2017 suggesting that the states must avoid any coercive measures for ensuring construction and usage of toilets.

The statement from the ministry added that the advisory was issued on Friday after it was "brought to the notice of the Department that certain forms of inappropriate actions and extreme coercive actions are still being practiced." The statement acknowledged the "tragic case of death of two children in Madhya Pradesh" and argued that "positive behavior" was key to the success of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

It said, "Positive behaviour change for adoption of safe sanitation practices as well as ensuring that no one is left behind, are key to achieve the goal of the Swachh Bharat Mission."

It added, "In the last five years, tireless efforts have been made by village motivators, elected panchayat officials, community-based organizations and government officials to take up extensive behaviour change communication activities to encourage rural households to stop defecating in the open and use toilets instead. This has led to a massive janandolan (mass movement) that in turn has resulted in an unprecedented change in the rural sanitation situation of the country. People from all walks of life have shown an exemplary commitment towards making India Open Defecation Free (ODF).

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