”Next what, condoms?” IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bamhrah quipped at a teenaged girl at an event when questioned if it was possible for the government to provide sanitary pads to students for Rs 20-30. The heated exchange between the girl, a school student, and Bamhrah, who is also in charge of Bihar’s Women and Child Development Corporation, at a workshop on ‘Sashakt Beti Samriddh Bihar’ has now gone viral.
In the video, the girl asked, “The government takes care of most of our needs, be it school uniform, etc. Is it possible if the government could give sanitary pads to us for Rs 20-30?” The girl’s question received applause from her fellow students, who were mostly in Class 9 and Class 10.
Amid the applause, Bamhrah retorted, “I want to ask something to the ones who are clapping — is there any end to these demands? Tomorrow you will ask anything from the government – be it jeans or shoes. Then when it will come to family planning, you would also expect condoms from the government. What is the need to have such expectations? Why should the government provide everything for free?”
In the same discourse, the student told the bureaucrat that people in India vote to elect their governments to which Bamhrah responded, “This is stupidity. Be like Pakistan then. Do you only vote for money and services only?” The student hit back saying, “I am an Indian.”
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The bureaucrat also clarified her stand, saying, “This thinking of taking from the government is wrong. Try doing things yourself.”
Meanwhile, when another girl talked about the poor state of the girls’ toilets and how they are also used by boys, Bamhrah asked, “Do you have separate bathrooms for men and women in your own house?”
When asked about the need for government schemes, Bamhrah said, “The thinking should change.”
Bamhrah also asked the ones present to stop expecting everything from the government. “The government cannot shape your future. You have to do it yourself. Do you want to remain where you’re right now or on the side I am on?” said Bamhrah.