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World Toilet Day: Women face harassment at community toilets in Bawana


Jagriti Chandra,CNN-IBN
Nov 19, 2013 at 10:36am IST

New Delhi: On World Toilet Day, CNN-IBN traveled to a slum in Bawana where even basic sanitation facilities are missing. Women are forced to community toilets and also have to face daily harassment.

In the past politicians like Union Minister Jairam Ramesh and BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi have vouched for more toilets.

Everyone needs a toilet. Yet for many, basic sanitation is a distant dream even in the 21st century India. In Bawana JJ Colony, most residents do not have a toilet within their homes. They have to use community toilets. But there's approximately just one toilet for every 300 residents. Young women, like Afsana, say men often gather outside the toilet complex and tease or stare at them.

"Men often gather around toilets and if we ignore them they try to touch and feel us. Community toilets also often have open roofs throwing privacy to the wind. Windows inside these toilets are often so low that women feel unsafe while using them," Afsana said.

"Our toilets have low windows. Drug addicts who roam around freely in the complex often tried to tease us," said another resident Zahida.

The founder of Sulabh International, Bindeshwar Pathak, the man who has given millions in this country access to toilets told CNN-IBN that his Sulabh Shauchalya is a model that can be emulated.

At the only toilet museum in the world in Delhi, one of the interesting facts that one would come across is the one that talks about how India was the first country in the entire world to have a toilet back in 2500 BC. Now in 21st century, more than half of India's 1.2 billion population does not have access to toilets.

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