#ThrowbackToday: Manual scavenging, a reality that continues to exist

In today's #TBT, we recall the horrors of manual scavenging and how, though people continue to speak up against it as they did on this day three years ago, very little has actually changed on ground
All that work | (Pic: Flickr)
All that work | (Pic: Flickr)

Manual scavenging remains a harsh reality in India. You may go ahead and quote The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 here, but you know as well as we do that it has changed little.

Manual scavenging, which is the act of cleaning latrines, open drains, sewers or septic tanks manually or with hand tools, is closely linked with caste and this is a fact well known. So are we surprised that on September 25, 2018, relatives of all those who died cleaning sewers got together in Delhi to protest against it. Slogans were raised and sit-ins were organised because people were very, very angry.

Cut to today. About a week ago, it came to light that, with regards to a death due to manual scavenging, it had been five long months and yet, no report had been filed regarding the status of the investigation behind the death. That too despite repeated orders. In another instance a month ago, Dr Virendra Kumar, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, said in the Parliament that there have been no deaths due to manual scavenging but 941 deaths occurred while cleaning septic tanks and sewers in the last three decades. What does this tell us about India and its apathy towards manual scavenging?  

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