After sitting on protest for over a week, lack of clean washrooms and bathing spaces at the Ghazipur protest site has forced many women protesters from Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur to head back home.
Dalchand Pradhan (62), a farmer from Bijnor, said, “Sadly, the women had to pack up and leave as they were unable to bathe out in the open; there are no facilities here. The men managed somehow, but it was more difficult for them.”
When The Indian Express spoke to the group of 10 women last week, they said they were facing problems due to lack of toilets and were considering going back. While the Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam had set up portable washrooms on both sides of the road, they said it was mostly used by men and not cleaned after use.
“We went out in the open after dark and early morning… Some of us were falling sick due to this. Our sarees were dirty, we couldn’t shower for days,” said Ramlethi Verma (62), who was representing her family at the protests while her husband and children took care of work at home.
The women said it was exceptionally difficult when they were menstruating as they use cloth, which they could not wash after use.
For 55-year-old Rupa Devi, attending to her one-year-old son Brijesh was no easy task. She said: “I have four children, the older ones are at home, but I could not leave my son behind as I still need to feed him. He had to defecate in the open… I will not complain as I chose to attend the protests, but it is not easy.”
Another group of seven women from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh, who also left the protest site earlier, had said they walked to a petrol pump half an hour away to use the washroom.
Sanjeev Yadav (26), a farmer from Moradabad, said, “When I left my village last week, 15-20 women wanted to come along. But we advised them not to as there are no proper sanitation facilities here.”
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