More insensitivity as sanitary workers' bodies sent to AP

Children and women were on Wednesday packed into ambulances taking the bodies of two sanitary workers to Andhra Pradesh.

Each ambulance had 12 passengers and a body. The government had made sympathetic noises when the deaths made headlines, but no official from any department turned up on Wednesday to help the families. Three workers died in a manhole in Bengaluru late on Tuesday when they were sent to clean a sewer. Manual scavenging is illegal, and they had been deployed in place of jetting machines.

The ambulances left the mortuary at Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital on Wednesday. Earlier, activists helping the families called government departments requesting vehicles to ferry the bodies, but got no positive response. They sought a Tempo Traveller for Dantha Yarrayya and Tatta Thavitayya, who choked to death in a sewer in CV Raman Nagar on Tuesday. Twenty-four people, including four children, left for Srikakulam, where they will perform the last rites.

A volunteer said he had called the social welfare and public works departments, besides the BWSSB, but no official had offered support of any kind. The body of the third victim, Kore Anjaneya Reddy, went in a separate ambulance to Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh. His family had come to Bengaluru in a hired van.

With no help forthcoming from the government, the families left with the bodies in two ambulances. “We pooled in some cash to help them with their travel expenses,” another activist said.

Bengaluru Development Minister K J George and Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya neither answered phone calls nor responded to text messages. Mayor G Padmavathi said she was not aware of the problems the victims’ families had to face while going back to their hometown.
 

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