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Nitish Kumar hints at action against officer for “Want condoms?” Observation

IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bhamra reprimanded schoolgirls who applied for free sanitary pads.

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Bihar Prime Minister Nitish Kumar hinted today that action may be taken against senior IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bhamra, whose indiscretion during a recent interaction with schoolgirls caused his government great embarrassment.

Meanwhile, the officer released a signed statement, expressing regret over the controversy that arose after an alleged video of a function held on September 27 went viral on social media.

Mr Kumar, approached by reporters with questions about the National Commission for Women (NCW) sending Ms Bhamra a tip, said: “There are orders to investigate the matter, I learned about from the newspapers. We are committed to giving every assistance to the women of the state. If the IAS officer’s behavior is found to be against that spirit, action will be taken.”

Ms. Bhamra is an Officer at the rank of Additional Principal Secretary who also heads the state Women and Children Development Commission.

At a state-level workshop organized in collaboration with UNICEF, she had reprimanded schoolgirls who had requested that the government, which gives out free bikes and school uniforms, should also consider providing free sanitary pads.

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“There is no limit to such gifts. The government is already giving a lot. Today you want a free pack of napkins. Tomorrow you can want jeans and shoes, and later, when the family planning stage comes, you can demand free condoms too,” he said. you can hear Ms. Bhamra say in a video that has gone viral.

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PTI has not independently verified the authenticity of the video.

The IAS officer’s comments were met with protests from the girls who insisted that the government was not doing them a favor as those in power also approached them asking for votes.

“Then don’t vote, become like Pakistan,” Ms Bhamra can be heard saying in response.

The NCW has sought an explanation from the top bureaucrat for her “insensitive” conduct.

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In her statement, Ms Bhamra said she “regretted” the exchange, stating: “It was not intended to scold any of the participants, but rather to encourage the girls to become independent.”

She also said her words were prompted by the fact that “in a patriarchal society, girls are taught to depend on others to meet their needs. They are discriminated against in the course of their upbringing and are told repeatedly that they are not safe.” outside the confines of life. their homes”.

She also highlighted the fact that there is a plan since 2016, whereby a Rs 300 gift is given to each student for maintaining menstrual hygiene and progress is being made to equip middle and high schools with sanitary napkin vending machines.

“A number of other issues faced by girl students in schools were raised at the workshop. These are all being addressed directly by the Department of Education,” she said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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