School teachers in Bihar have protested against instructions issued by block development officers in some districts to photograph individuals defecating in the open as part of the state’s Open Defecation Free campaign, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
Bihar Madhyamik Sikshak Sangh General Secretary and former MP Shatrughan Prasad Singh wrote to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday demanding that the orders asking teachers to visit villages in the mornings and evenings to photograph people defecating openly be withdrawn. The BMSS said that while teachers support the ODF campaign, they find it difficult to comply with the instructions because it “insults teachers,” undermines “their dignity” and could “endanger safety.”
Deo Block Development Officer Pankaj Kumar Shaktidhar said in his order, “Morning follow-up would begin from 5 am and evening follow-up from 4 pm everyday till December 27”. A similar order was issued by Kudni Block Development Officer Harimohan Kumar.
The Deo block development officer claimed that the order to photograph had been issued only to those teachers who received a house rent allowance from the government. “Since they are posted in the same areas where they teach, they can go on morning and evening rounds,” he added. However, the officer claimed there was “no pressure” on the teachers to take pictures of open defecation.
Muzaffarpur District Education Officer Lalan Prasad told The Indian Express that he would speak to the Kudni block development officer. “My office has talked only about our teachers supporting awareness campaign for ODF and not engage in any other activity”, he added.