Where is the Outrage When 39 Indians Die in 100 Days While Cleaning Sewers?
"Nobody takes responsibility for the deaths in sewers"
July 18, 2017
These deaths are 'political murder', says Wilson, adding that despite his repeated petitions to the lieutenant governor and chief minister of Delhi and the National Human Rights Commission, even the Prime Minister, on the problem, the reactions were nil or lukewarm.
Wilson, a Magsaysay award winner is one of the founders and national convenor of Safai Karmachari Andolan, provides a startling statistic. He pointed out that in the past 100 days, 39 people had died across India while cleaning sewers. "This is not the first incident of the kind, just a part of regular occurrences," he told TOI. "Now Delhi government won't do anything claiming the matter falls under the LG's office. The PM too speaks on all issues but not on this."
Wilson also alleged that despite providing documents on 56 men who had died in this manner, the authorities had not identified them, so there was no question of their families getting any compensation.
"Who will take action under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, which prohibits anyone from allowing a human to go into a sewer?," the irked Wilson asked. "The administration will simply claim that since 2013, nobody is entering sewers and cleaning has been mechanised. But the truth is not a single sewer in the country is cleared using mechanisation."
Bemoaning the fact that there is much talk about smart cities and bullet trains, Wilson contrasts this with double standards of Indians who never speak of smart sanitation "If 39 deaths in 100 days don't matter to the country, then this is one of the biggest challenges for our democracy," he declared.
Published first in Sabrangindia.
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