Expecting Mothers Told Not To Touch The Food At Nutrition Day Event In Bengal

The mentality of ‘If there’s no photo of it, did it even happen?’ has engrained so deep, that it isn’t just limited to social media. So much so, that they don’t even care what transpired in reality. We often witness people faking it and showcasing a glamorous life  on the internet, but this time, it was the government of Bengal that made a humiliating show of pregnant women.

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For the celebration of Supushti Diwas (Nutrition Day), an event was held in Nadia District, West Bengal on Friday. The event was held to promote nutrition awareness among pregnant women for their own health as well as their babies’. Around 20 women attended the event who were asked to sit, one by one, before a sumptuous thali, for a photo op. On the ironic note, the women had their photographs taken and were then asked to leave.

The women were made to sit and pose with a plate full of meal, but were forbidden to eat. This treatment riled up the public and they even lodged a complaint over their ill treatment in the event. According to the reports, the complainants claim that they were “humiliated” at the photo op and were handed food parcels before being shoved away from the event.

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The report stated that the incident came under notice after a complaint was lodged by a husband of seven months pregnant, Moumita Sandhukhan, who was present there too. The event was held under the banner of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and was launched by State women and child development minister Shashi Panja.

It was also revealed that the women were handed parcels containing a meal of eggs and rice to take home – very different and less, compared to the ‘nutritious meal’ that was used for the photo op – a platter containing rice, dal, four kinds of fried vegetables, soybean curry, egg curry and payesh (kheer). She shared –

“I had not come for the food anyway. Following the officials’ behaviour, I did not even accept the parcel. When I sat down in front of the plate, I was suddenly told not to touch the food because it was only for demonstration. They used the same platter again for the other mothers and took it away after taking their pictures.”

ICDS senior officials have blamed the mistreatment on the local ICDS workers, reportedly saying that accountability got lost in the chain of command.

It really feels sickening, when the authorities abuse their power caring only about the optics of an event rather than delivering on their promise to the people (in this case 20 heavily pregnant women who were asked not to touch nutritious food at a nutrition day event).

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