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A female civil servant’s response to a schoolgirl’s request for free sanitary pads has sparked backlash in India. The teenager made the request at a workshop organised with Unicef in the eastern state of Bihar.

The official responded by saying the girl would soon expect the government to provide free clothes, shoes and even condoms.

Periods are a taboo topic in India, with menstruating women often forced to live under severe restrictions. Nearly 23 million girls drop out of school annually after they start their periods due to a lack of access to menstrual hygiene facilities.

Ms Bhamra later claimed that reporting on the event was “false, malicious and wrong” and threatened to take legal action against a Hindi newspaper which first reported her comments, according to the BBC.