Regularise services, demand gravediggers

Gravediggers braved rain and staged a protest demanding regularisation of their services as Group ‘D’ employees, in front of the head office of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Wednesday.

The protesters, under the banner of Dr B R Ambedkar Dalit Sangharsha Samithi, along with their family members, raised slogans against the Palike.

“For the past three years, we are getting an honorarium of a mere Rs 600 a month as against Rs 1,000 as stipulated,” they said.

Addressing the protesters, Samithi general secretary A Suresh said as many as 400 families were working as gravediggers in 42 graveyards in the BBMP limits. Even in the changing times, they are continuing their traditional occupation. Certain vested interests, however, are trying to snatch their jobs, he said.

‘False charges’

Noting that many of the gravediggers were Christians, he said attempts were being made to deprive them of jobs, on the charge of religious conversion. But, police investigation had established that the accusations were false, Suresh claimed.

“I am the fourth generation gravedigger in my family. My father, who died in 1995, used to get Rs 500 a month. I am being paid Rs 600. Given the high cost of living, the monthly honorarium is a pittance,” said Shouri Raj, a gravedigger at Kalpalli graveyard in Cox Town.

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