'Agar paise nahi hai toh biwi ko bech do (If you don't have the money, sell your wife),' Aurangabad district magistrate Kanwal Tanuj said. Photograph: (ANI)
The district magistrate of Aurangabad, Bihar told a villager to 'sell his wife' if he could not afford to build a toilet at home
An Indian Administrative Service officer has told a villager in Bihar to "sell his wife" if he could not afford to build a toilet at home.
The Telegraph reported that Aurangabad district magistrate Kanwal Tanuj was addressing a "swachhta mahasabha" (an awareness programme against open defecation).
In his address, he was asking his audience of about 500 to build toilets in their homes for which they would be reimbursed.
Suddenly, the Telegraph said, a man in his 50s interrupted him. "We are poor. We haven't the money to get a toilet built. Please give us the cash in advance," he said.
Angry at the interruption, Tanuj shot back: "Agar paise nahi hai toh biwi ko bech do. (If you don't have the money, sell your wife.)"
The Telegraph added that Tanuj later accused male villagers of being indifferent to the safety of their womenfolk who have had to face sexual assault when they step out to relieve themselves at night.
"It's shocking that in spite of such incidents, you can't afford Rs 12,000 for the sake of your wives' safety," he told the gathering of about 500.
The Telegraph added that Tanuj had earlier explained that money for the toilets could not be given in advance since it might be misused.
"Funds released in advance under the Indira Awaas Yojana had been used as wedding expenses," the Telegraph reported him as saying.
The Telegraph added that Tanuj told them his statement had been distorted and taken out of context.
But the newspaper added that he did not reply when they sent him a clip of his statement that had been uploaded on social media.