Katra Sadatganj (Badaun): For a while in 2014, Katra Sadatganj village, in Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district, hogged the headlines after two teenage girls were found hanging from a mango tree here.
The initial media reports claimed that the two were raped and killed when they had gone to defecate in the open. The murders brought to the fore two, burning issues — women’s safety and the lack of toilets in the country’s rural areas.
The horrific images of the teens led Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak about it in Parliament.
Five years on, Katra Sadatganj village is yet to get toilets in all its houses and is not open-defecation free, a key Modi government goal. Villagers here also continue to fear for the safety of young women even as they believe that the CBI probe, which ruled out rape and concluded that the deaths were suicide, is a cover up.
People of the village are also disillusioned with the government. Even as the MP and chief minister of the state both are from the ruling party, the village does not get any attention, they say.
The sitting Member of Parliament for Aonla constituency, under which the village falls, is Dharmendra Kumar, who is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
No toilets, say villagers
Katra Sadatganj has about 3,000 homes. In 2014, around 400 toilets were sanctioned for the village by authorities, of which only 100 are now functional.
Under the central government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, each family is given Rs 12,000 for the construction of toilets in their homes. But many people in the village claimed that the money never reached them, some said that they had no idea how to claim the money and others said that their names erroneously appeared in the list of beneficiaries.
“My name is in the list of beneficiaries but I haven’t received any money so far. How will I get a toilet constructed?” asked Suraj Pal, a farm labourer.
Another village resident, Sudha, who lives in a hut with two daughters said, “I don’t have a toilet, I don’t even have a house. I have asked the village headman to help me a number of times but he does not listen.”
“I have two young daughters and I need to accompany them to the fields whenever they need to relieve themselves at night,” she added. “We are very scared after the rape incident, young girls are not safe.”People who own fields sometimes stop villagers from using their lands as a toilet and that leads to fights.
The village headman Moolchand Mishra, however, told ThePrint that the money that people get for construction of toilets is never used by them for that purpose and hence they complain.
“Recently, we got sanctions for 71 houses to construct toilets and of them, only 14 have started the work. The rest are sitting with money in their bank accounts,” Mishra said. “If this is the attitude of people, how are we supposed to help them?”
An earlier version of the report said Katra Sadatganj fell under the Bareilly constituency. It falls under the Aonla Lok Sabha seat. The error has been corrected.