'Impose strict ban on manual scavenging'

15 labourers lost lives in last 5 years, allege DSS leader at SC/ST meet

The Dalit Sangharsh Samiti leaders came up with severe opposition to the manual scavenging and criticised the way the Mangalore City Corporation is employing men to clean the manholes.

Dalit Sangharsh Samiti leader S P Ananad said that despite the State government imposing ban on manual scavenging, the system continues to prevail in the city even today. One such incident where a man was found clearing the manhole which came to limelight at Bunder on Friday depicts the MCC’s failure in implementing the ban order, he said.

Further, he alleged that the men are employed for manual scavenging on contract basis, thus are deprived of the necessary facilities.

 “In case of the happening of untoward incidents while cleaning the manhole, the family members of the victim are left in lurch as they are not given enough compensation. As many as 15 manual scavenging labourers have lost their lives in the last five years. Therefore, the manual scavenging should be completely banned in the city and machineries should replace the current system,” he urged.

Another Dalit Sangharsh Samiti leader P Keshava said that workers belonging to SC / ST communities are exploited as the men who are employed for manual scavenging mostly belong to the same communities.

“Let the workers be hired on fulltime-permanent basis rather than on contract basis.”
Responding to the issue, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Mutthuraya said that manual scavenging was against the law and the police department would take suo moto action in case the order is violated.

Dalit community member Shekhar questioned the police attitude in dealing a case pertaining to the death of one Neelaiah Malekudiya from Madanathyar in Belthangady taluk.

“Neelaiah was admitted to A J Shetty Hospital in the city on October 29. He died after he was allegedly administered with wrong medication. To one’s astonishment, Kadri Inspector and PSI have booked cases against five Dalits owing to the pressure from AJ Shetty Hospital, while they have not taken any action against the doctor or the hospital which is responsible for the death of Neelaiah. Where is the fair law of justice?” questioned Shekhar.

Tiff between parties

Shekhar also complained against the Bhajarangdal members for unnecessarily troubling SC / ST community members in Shakthi Nagar. He said that Bhajarangis who speak about unity among Hindus are on the other hand troubling the SCs and STs. The tiff is mainly caused by Bhajarangdal leader Harish Kumar who is the close associate of District-in-Charge Minister, he alleged. Appropriate action should be taken against the culprits, which would otherwise lead to retaliation and violence, he said and added that Chalukya Bar and Restaurant located at Shakthi Nagar is the cause for all the problems as the bar remains open till midnight with many youth spending time there.

“The police should ensure that the bar is closed as early at 10 pm,” he insisted.
Missing woman Dalit member Lingappa Nanthoor urged the police to solve the mystery surrounding the missing case of a Dalit woman Sunitha from Arekala. “It has been 33 days since the lady is missing but no development has taken place in the investigation so far,” he complained.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Jagannath informed that the search is on and the police have kept a watch on a few suspected.

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