Recently, IAS officer Harjot Kaur responded to a school girl’s request for sanitary pads in a snarky and arguably insensitive way. “Want condom, jeans too?”, was what Kaur replied when the school student queried about government’s efforts when it comes to providing sanitary pads for numerous girls in the state. The IAS officer’s remarks were caught on video, and have since gone viral on social media.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Women Development Corporation, Bihar in partnership with various international NGOs held a workshop titled ‘Sashakt Beti, Samridh Bihar’. In the workshop, one of the girl students from Patna asked IAS officer Harjot Kaur, who was on the stage with other dignitaries.
“Can government provide us sanitary pads for Rs 20-30?”, was what a school girl asked during the one-day workshop. IAS Officer Harjot Kaur took “Sashakt Beti, Samridh Bihar”, a tad too literally, and responded that girls should make efforts to empower themselves and not ask anything of government.
“Is there any end to such demand? Tomorrow you can ask for jeans, then beautiful shoes and finally when it comes to family planning, you can say the government should give condoms too. What is the need to take anything from the government? This thinking is wrong. Do it yourself,” she said.
It should be noted that Harjot Kaur is Head of Women and Child Development Corporation, Bihar.
The Facts of the Matter
Various state governments in India and Centre have formulated policies for girl students wherein they are provided with meals, school uniform, books, and bicycles. The idea is to not only provide them with the means to get education, but encourage more Indians to have their kids receive education.
Recently, an IAS officer’s statement regarding such efforts brewed storms when she likened request for sanitary napkins for girl students to request for condoms.
‘Sashakt Beti, Samridh Bihar’ Workshop
It so happened that IAS officer Harjot Kaur was attending ‘Sashakt Beti, Samridh Bihar’, a one-day workshop held to give an outlet to girl students and enhance their participation on public forum. During the event, a girl student asked Kaur whether the government is making any efforts to provide sanitary napkins to girl students.
“The government provides us almost everything like school uniform, etc. Can the government give sanitary pads to us at Rs 20-30?”, the school girl asked, evoking a thunderous applause from other students.
“Want condom, jeans too?”
To this, IAS officer replied that one should not seek more from the government and empower themselves. “Is there any end to such demand? Tomorrow you can ask for jeans, then beautiful shoes and finally when it comes to family planning, you can say the government should give condoms too,” she said.
“Ban jao Pakistan” IAS Officer Reacts On Being Questioned
Her insensitive remarks did not go well with the student who had asked the question. The student immediately replied that government priorities a lot of things before election to get votes.
To this, IAS officer Harjot Kaur responded with, “Mat do tum vote! Sarkar tumhari hai. Bewakoofi ki intaha hai! Nahin, nahin mat do tum vote. Ban jao Pakistan. (Don’t give vote. It’s your government. This is height of stupidity. No, don’t give vote. Become Pakistan).
— NDTV (@ndtv) September 28, 2022
Netizens Left Enraged
IAS officer Harjot Kaur’s remarks obviously received flak on social media and many leaders of government parties too expressed their displeasure.
— AKASH KUMAR MISHRA (@akashmishra1528) September 28, 2022
Harjot Kaur Bhamra is an IAS and CMD of women and child development Bihar. There are better ways to answer the question the girl asked but she responded with arrogance and rude behaviour. Shame on her she doesn't deserve to be at that post. @IASassociation https://t.co/EbVZt0ZwpY
— NamitaJaiHind 🇮🇳🚩 (@NamitaJaiHind) September 28, 2022
A girl from a slum in Bihar asks for subsidised sanitary pads at an event on ‘enhancing value of girls’ and IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bhamra responds, “Want free condoms too?” Should such insensitive officers be allowed to remain in service? @IASassociation @biharCMO pic.twitter.com/GrhggEpqXZ
— Yash Barupal (@yashpal_barupal) September 28, 2022
— Gunja (@GeeKayTalks) September 28, 2022
Respect CM of Bihar,
I request you take necessary action against IAS Harjot Kaur for her hated speech how can a woman and government servent talk like that.
Sir I humble request you to provide some facility for school girls. https://t.co/Xy2qM1Vs3f
— Vinay Suhag (@VinaySuhag) September 28, 2022
Menstrual hygiene is an important issue. Young girls in villages and small towns stay away from school when they are menstruating because of lack of access to sanitary napkins. The stunning arrogance of this IAS officer is shameful beyond words.https://t.co/Nm8TxFLr8J
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) September 28, 2022
I am proud of girls of Bihar that they are this much aware about their rights, yes we vote govt. for our welfare, and it's our right to ask for facilities. Disappointed with the thoughts of IAS Harjot Kaur Bhamra, not expected from a civil servant #Bihar #womenrights #periods https://t.co/8TaxcoFLRZ
— Ritu (@Ritu191994) September 28, 2022
Just watched the full video of the Bihar IAS officer responding to a student's request for sanitary pads by saying, "Next, you'll ask for condoms." Outrageous. But also, towards the end of the video, the officer does it again. She says,
"Toh tum mat do vote, ban jao Pakistan…"
— Ismat Ara (@IsmatAraa) September 29, 2022