The ‘Bhim Yatra’, a 125-day-long bus journey organised by the Safai Karamchari Andolan covered more than 35,000 km across 500 districts in the country’s 29 states. It was launched on International Human Rights Day to commemorate B.R. Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary, and culminated in Delhi at Ambedkar Bhavan on April 13. The yatris are family members of workers killed by hazardous fumes while they were working inside manholes and sewage lines. They demanded complete modernisation and mechanisation of the sanitation system in India. Through the Bhim Yatra, they hope to send a message to the government of India and people at large about how this inhuman practice, which destroys their lives, needs to end.
Via Newsclick. See here for a detailed report on the yatra. It is estimated that every year, roughly 22,000 Indian citizens die in the course of sanitation work, making manual scavenging one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Almost all of these workers are dalits. See here for an interview with Bezwada Wilson, convenor of the Safai Karamchari Andolan.
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