The Deputy Commissioner of Police,
Rohini, Delhi 110034
25 years after it has been banned in India, manual scavenging continues to be permitted - illegally. Some of these cases are reported in the news, but nothing is done about it. The news about 2 deaths due to manual scavenging from the first week of May 2019 in the political capital was shocking!
Deepak (30) and Ganesh (35) died because they were forced to enter septic tanks. This is not only archaic and illegal but beyond acceptable. No one should have to enter tanks to clean human excreta.
A Day In The Life Of A Sanitation Worker - Outlook Magazine
Thousands of sanitation workers get into open drains, sewages and septic tanks like Deepak and Ganesh on a daily basis. Their job is to ‘manually’ unclog drains filled with muck, sewage and human excreta. Not only do the labourers contract a range of respiratory and skin ailments if at all they survive, but they have no legal rights to medical support let alone a decent pay.
Thousands of families lose sometimes the only breadwinner in their family in these death traps. “I screamed for help, but no one came forward. Eventually, a man came with a rope around his waist and pulled them out. My husband had never cleaned a pit like this before,” said Soni, wife of the deceased.
This is inhumane and unthinkable in a modern, developing country or civilisation especially when technological advancements have made it possible to automate the cleaning.
The police have registered a case under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC, relevant sections of SC/ST Act and Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Rehabilitation Act. But this is not enough.
The police should arrest the accused under IPC 304 immediately. Manual scavenging is illegal and inhumane and should not be given the light of day to anyone accused flouting it.