Skip to main content

Contract workers of a small Gujarat town provide strong proof of prevalence of manual scavenging

Proof of prevalence of manual scavenging in Dudhrej
By Our Representative
In a sharp rebuttal to the Gujarat government’s dogged refusal to admit the prevalence of manual scavenging in the state, the Safai Kamdar Hak Rakshak Samiti, Surendranagar, has come up with documentary evidence to demand the the despicable practice, which Mahatma Gandhi called “shame of the nation.” Releasing photographs showing existence of manual scavenging under Dudhrej municipality, the organization, associated with Ahmedabad-based Dalit rights NGO Navsarjan Trust, has demanded from the district collector, Surendranagar, to take “urgent steps to stop the practice and employ them in respectable jobs.”
“Even today, 66 years after Independence, the municipality has manual scavengers who are forced to manually clean up human excreta at several public places. This is disgraceful. The municipality officials who force the workers to do this should be punished”, the representation to said, adding, “The practice is violation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, as also the earlier law, Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines Prohibition) Act, 1993. Those employed in the job should be rehabilitated.”
The representation said, all manual scavengers are working on contract and there is no regular procedure in place to provide them pay slips. “We demand that pay of all manual scavengers be straight deposited in a nationalized bank, where our accounts should be opened, and till the amount is deposited, they should not be provided with pay slips. Worse, the manual scavengers working in the sanitation department of the municipality are not provided with any slip of employees’ provident fund, which is deducted from their wage bill. They should be provided with the proof”, the representation said.
The representation said, all manual scavengers should be covered under minimum wages Act, adding, “Currently the situation is that, there is no fixed date on which they are paid their wages. They have no job cards. They are not provided with necessary equipment such as a simple broom or a drum to clean up dirt. They must spend from their own pocket to buy all this. Nor are those working to clean up gutters provided with any safety equipment. They are not covered under any insurance scheme, hence they are forced to fend for themselves if they are taken seriously ill or become victims of accident.”
Asking the Gujarat government give them regular jobs along with all the benefits which are given to all government servants, including gratuity and bonus, the representation takes particularly strong exception to the way women manual scavengers are treated. “They are called by using abusive words. They are regularly threatened they would be pushed out of job. Those responsible should be punished under the anti-atrocities law as also the law prohibiting harassment of women at workplaces”, the representation said.
Other demands include removal of word “Bhangi” and “Harijan”, which the representation believes are derogatory. “These words are still in use at several places, especially in schools. We should, instead, be officially addressed Hindu Valmiki”, the representation insisted, adding, “This is in accordance with the Gujarat government resolutions of 1998 and 1999. This should be followed meticulously.” In all, around 275 manual scavengers are employed on contract by different wings of the municipality.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Liberating Bengal Hindus? Worst flames of communal division, lessons from the past

By Shamsul Islam*  The whole thrust of the RSS-BJP election campaign for 2021 state assembly elections in West Bengal has been to save Bengal from the rule of Mamata Bannerjee who is allegedly not a ‘Hindu’. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, as usual set the polarizing agenda. While addressing the first election rally, he called upon the electorate to overthrow the ‘nirmam’ (cruel) rule of Mamata by showing a ‘Ram Card’. He did not name Hindus directly but there was no confusion about the religious identity of the electorate Indian PM was addressing to.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Pradeep Bhattacharya, who spent his life for the cause of working masses, rational thinking

By YS Gill*  At 11:30 pm on May 3, 2021, I lost my best friend and comrade Pradeep Bhattacharya. He spent his life dedicated to the cause of the working masses and rational thinking. A person of thorough scientific outlook and a well-read student of Marxian thought, he was a walking encyclopedia and could speak on a wide variety of topics from art and culture to science, philosophy, history and politics.

Rs 5 crore 'demand' for India Today anchor: What about 52 lesser souls who died in April?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  A well known Hindutva protagonist masquerading as journalist passed away recently resulting in messages of condolences and tribute right from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to progressive liberals expressing grief of his untimely death. It is said that he passed away due to cardiac arrest, though the fact is, he was also Covid infected. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister termed him a ‘brave’ journalist, insisting, his passing away has left a big ‘vacuum’.

Modi's Hindutva 'ensuring' empowerment of rich, disenfranchisement of poor

Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The Hindutva socio-psychopaths are neither nationalists nor patriotic people. These medieval reactionary forces don’t understand the idea of citizenship, justice, liberty, equality and humanism. Indian democracy is merely an electoral transaction for the Hindutva forces. Hindutva forces neither follow science nor understand the sufferings of fellow human beings. These core qualities are common among the Hindutva forces in India.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

India's Covid-19 'nightmare': A product of majoritarian Hindutva ideological praxis?

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Indians struggle to find place and time to bury their dead due to the devastating effects of the second wave of Covid-19 in India. The crematoriums in the capital cities are overflowing with dead bodies. People are dying without oxygen and basic medical support. The cities like Delhi and Mumbai are struggling to cope with the rising number of infections and COVID-19 led deaths. The deaths and destitutions are products of a defunct BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Indian media persons collapsing to Covid disease as fast as 3 per day, third highest

Yogesh Sharma, Shailesh Rawal  By Our Representative  The Switzerland based media rights and safety body, Press Emblem Campaign ( PEC ) has said that it is “alarming for Indian journalists”, who have lost at least 107 colleagues to Covid-19”, noting, Indian “journo-colleagues” have been collapsing to the Covid-19 complications now as fast as three scribes per day. In a statement, PEC said, “India with 107 media corona-casualties has already placed itself on the third position just below Brazil (181 dead) and Peru (140) in the list of Covid-19 victims among journalist.”