The corporator took a selfie with a man defecating in the open and shared it on his Facebook.

Hyd corporators insensitive selfie posts a pic of lorry driver defecating in open
news Open-Defecation Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 18:52

How do we tackle open defecation in India? A TRS corporator decided that the best solution is to shame the people who poop in the open – never mind that a large part of the country doesn’t have toilets, or that shaming someone only shows his privileged insensitivity. Samma Tirumal Reddy – never one to shy away from ridiculous controversies – posted a selfie with a lorry driver who was defecating in the open, on Facebook.The corporator from Hayathnagar in his defence told TNM that he wanted Hyderabad to retain the ‘open-defecation free’ tag, and used the selfie stunt to stop people defecating in the open in future.

Tirumal Reddy said that every day, at least 200 drivers defecate in the open in High Court colony. “The residents in this colony have complained to me about the menace. I issued a notice to the owners, Nakka Umlesh Yadav and Nakka Srinivas Yadav, who run the illegal parking service, two years ago. They didn’t respond to the notice, despite my repeated appeals. Finally, I thought that I could only stop the open-defecation is by shaming the drivers.”

He said, “Despite several notices from GHMC to Sri Venkateswara Lorry Services to construct a toilet, they haven’t responded.”

“I am not at fault. The GHMC has constructed five Sulabh toilets. Can’t they pay and use those toilets?” he further asked.

“Under the Swachh Bharat programme, I have ensured that all public toilets are functional. Toilets have been built in petrol bunks too, but these people continue to defecate in the open. My intent wasn’t to shame him (the driver) but to stop him from doing the same in future,” Tirumal Reddy claimed.

Reddy’s obsession with photos and videos is not new. In the past he was booked by the Vanasthalipuram police for barging into a home and videographing the women present there.

The complainant alleged that the corporator threatened him saying that he can enter anyone’s home and film them – an allegation that Tirumal Reddy denied.

The corporator is not the first one to try the shaming campaign, earlier Bollywood actor Twinkle Khanna earned the wrath of the internet users, when she shared the image of a person defecating in the open.

The coercive campaigns to prevent open-defecation have been slammed by many.

In 2017, officials allegedly beat a man to death in Rajasthan, after he objected to them taking pictures of women defecating.

Many activists have argued that name and shame campaigns are unfair to people when toilet coverage in the country is still not sufficient, and that awareness-building, not humiliation, is the way to stop open defecation.