Koppal girl fasts for 3 days for a toilet in village home

Sangamesh Menasinakai| TNN

Hubballi: A 15-year-old girl staged a hunger strike for three days before winning her family’s approval to build a toilet in their house in a village in Koppal district’s Gangavati taluk.

Mallamma Bagalapur, a class X student at the Government High School in Danapur, launched the hunger strike on July 12 when her requests to mother Sannaningamma went in vain. A visit by Koppal zilla panchayat chief executive officer R Ramachandran made her end the strike.

Ramachandran told TOI he’s been visiting villages in his jurisdiction as part of a campaign to encourage building individual toilets in each house. “My visit to Danapur on Friday morning resulted in a positive experience. When we heard of the girl’s strike for a toilet, we convinced her to drop the strike and spoke to her mother Sannaningamma. She cited fund and space as constraints. We cleared both on the spot,” the officer added.

The girl said she learnt about the hygienic importance of a toilet, thanks to massive campaigns at her school. “The slogans — Toilet Our Right and Toilet a Symbol of Self-Esteem — motivated me to make a demand. Since ours is a joint family, my mother’s budget was limited. When I told her about the government’s subsidy of Rs 15,000 for dalit families, she would say, toilet is for the rich. That’s when I decided to shun food till my family came around,” she said. Her mother said she wasn’t unaware of the subsidy component awarded by the government.

Danapur gram panchayat president Shafi Shakeshawali said the subsidy has been released and the toilet should be ready in a week. “Mallamma has emerged as a role model, and her resolve has opened the eyes of many village elders,” he added.

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