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Delhi manhole deaths: 'Inexperienced' Dalit workers were forced to enter in sewer line

By Our Representative

A team consisting of civil society network, Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) activists, who visited to the families of two sanitation workers who died while cleaning up a sewer on March 25, 2021 in Pearl Grand Banquet Hall in Gazipur, Delhi, has regretted that government agencies, owners of septic tanks and contractors "are openly violating the Manual Scavengers Act, 2013 and directions are given by Delhi High Court", one reason why "poor Dalit sanitation workers are being killed while cleaning sewer/septic tanks."
The team, which was on a fact-finding mission, was told that the deceased Lokesh and Premchand died while cleaning the septic tank of Pearl Grand Banquet Hall. The families of the deceased live in Block 8 of Trilokpuri, where Lokesh's younger brother Umesh and his uncle Sanjay told the team that on the night of incident, the wife of Lokesh called on Lokesh’s mobile phone. It was answered by Rahul, who told her that Lokesh had died while entering into the septic tank.
The wife of Lokesh, who lives with her two children, a daughter aged 15, and a son aged 12, said that Lokesh did not have any experience of cleaning septic tank. He used to work as a peon in State Bank of India (SBI) on daily wage basis. “Rahul called Lokesh for sanitation work, and thereafter, the manager of Banquet Hall forced Lokesh and Premchand to clean the septic tank”, the DASAM team was told. Lokesh was 40 years old.
Premchand, 41, the second victim, was from Bairva community. He used to work as waiter or loader in marriage parties. He also didn’t have any experience of cleaning septic tanks, a DASAM report following the fact finding visit, said.
Premchand’s wife lives with her two sons, Ankush and Sumit, who are studying in class 10th and 7th respectively. The elder son of Premchand is also suffering from a serious heart ailment and is getting treatment since long. The family of Premchand was also unaware of the incident and was informed about the death of Premchand only on March 26 morning at 7 am. They were told that he had been brought to you the Lal Bahadur Hospital.
Revealing this, the fact-finding team reached the Patparganj Industrial Area Police Station to meet the investigation officer. ASI Rajpal told the team members that the case had been transferred to ACP, Madhuvihar police station, and that the accused had been charged under sections of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Then the team reached Madhuvihar police station to further inquire about the incident, where it met ACP Akshat Kaushal, who told DASAM activists that four persons had been arrested in this case, including Rahul (caretaker), Amir Khan (general manager), Jimmy Johit Arora and Girish Mahendra (director). Rahul has been released on bail as he belongs to SC community.

Comments

Does-not-matter said…
Please do a story on how Valmiki dalits in Sarai Kale Khan were attacked for an interfaith marriage.

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