Patna: Senior IAS officer and Bihar Women and Children Development Corporation Managing Director Harjot Kaur Bhamra, who had stirred up a controversy with her snide and abrasive responses to schoolgirls in a public event here, on Thursday apologised for her remarks.
In a letter, Bhamra explained the utility of the “Shashakt Beti Samridh Bihar” event and apologised to the girl students. “If any girl was feeling hurt over my statements, I apologise to them.”
Earlier, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said his government has taken cognisance of senior woman IAS officer’s apparent humiliation of a school girl over a sanitary napkin pad.
He said he learnt about the incident when the video of the incident went viral on social media and also hit the headlines across the country. “It has come to our knowledge and we are looking into it,” he said.
IAS officer Harjot Kaur Bhamra, the MD of the Bihar Women and Children Development Corporation, stirred up a controversy as her abrasive responses to questions by girl students at a forum oraganised by the WCDC and Unicef, for Class 9 and 10 students, went viral.
As a student asked Bhamra if the goverment could provide sanitary pads for Rs 20 to 30 to girl students, the IAS officer hit out, saying that people are clapping over the question but these are endless demands.
“Today, the government would provide you with sanitary pads for Rs 20 to Rs 30. Then you ask for jeans, pants and then, beautiful shoes,” she said, but did not stop there.
“When it comes to family planning, will the government give condoms to you. Why would I have a habit of taking everything free from the government? What is the need of it?”
At this, the student said the government comes to them to seek their votes.
Bhamra angrily replied that “this is the height of stupidity. You don’t vote and go to Pakistan. You are giving a vote to take money and facilities from the government”.
The girl student responded that she is an Indian, and why would she go to Pakistan?
“The government is providing facilities from the money of taxpayers. If taxpayers are paying taxes to the government, why would they not demand for the services?” she asked.
Another girl student said there were inadequate toilet facilities for girls in the school, adding that boys also enter the girls’ toilet and make them uncomfortable.
At this, Bhamra asked if every student present in the hall had separate toilets for them at home, leaving many in the audience surprised and shocked.
National Commission for Women seeks written explanation
The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday took cognisance of the incident in Patna.
The Commission has sought a written explanation for the remarks that Bhamra gave the students.
“The reply must be communicated within seven days,” said NCW.
Condemning the incident, NCW said that such an “insensitive attitude” from a person at a responsible position is condemnable and “extremely shameful”.
As per an official statement by the Commission, its Chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to Bhamra, seeking a written explanation for her inappropriate and highly objectionable remarks.