Protest action against deaths of manual scavengers in sewers

Activists of various political parties and organisations, including a large number of students and youth, participated in a rally in New Delhi, at the Parliament on September 25, 2018, to protest against the deaths of manual scavengers working in sewers, in different parts of the country.

Sewres worker

The protestors carried banners with slogans which read: “Stop killing us!”, “Fifty die in sewers every month, kiska saath, kiska vikas?”, “Mangalyaan goes to sky, people in sewers forced to die!”, "People die in sewers, what kind of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan?", etc.

The protestors included several manual scavenger workers and family members of people who have died cleaning sewers and septic tanks. They recounted the horrible experiences they have to face daily and hourly and the inhuman treatment they are constantly subjected to by the state authorities. They described their abject poverty, the caste discrimination and attacks they face and the desperate conditions which compel them to continue this work. They pointed out how there is no proper investigation carried out by the state authorities when these deaths take place. Instead, every attempt is made to cover up the criminality of the state and the workers’ families are even denied any compensation.

Sewres worker

Speakers at the rally exposed the hollow claims of the government of promoting “Swachhta”, when it cannot even provide a life of human dignity to the lakhs of workers cleaning our villages and cities. They pointed out how the Indian state claims much technological advance but cannot even provide proper equipment and safety gear to these workers. They called for steps to take the movement forward, to highlight the plight of the manual scavengers and to put an end to this inhuman practice.

In the last two weeks alone, six deaths of manual scavengers have been reported in the National Capital Region while another five such cases were reported from Chhattisgarh.

Manual scavenging is one of most hideous practices prevalent in Indian society. It is the practice of manually cleaning human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. It is carried out using the most rudimentary tools such as buckets, brooms and baskets, using bare hands. The practice of manual scavenging is, at the same time, a horrible indictment of the caste system in India, in which only the poorest people of the lowest castes – dalits – are expected to do this work.

Manual scavenging was officially banned in India, nearly 46 years after independence, only in 1993. Yet, 25 years later, this inhuman practice is still widely prevalent all over the country. In 2013 the government passed the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, following which it claimed that the actual number of manual scavengers would be documented and steps would be taken to rehabilitate them. But to date, there are no definite official figures of the actual number of people involved in manual scavenging. According to Census of India 2011, there are 740,078 households across the country where this is practiced, which include a large number of women in the rural areas. These figures are grossly understated, according to social activists.

Workers involved in manual scavenging, particularly in cleaning sewers in the cities, are forced to work in the most hazardous, dehumanizing conditions. They are provided no kind of safety gear at all – no special clothing, gloves or boots, no masks to protect them from the deadly fumes emanating from the sewers. According to reports of a camp held in Uttar Pradesh earlier this year for registration of manual scavengers, they are paid a pittance – in cities anything from Rs. 40-90 per day; in rural areas no cash, only two rotis per day and some grain every six months or so. There are regular reports of workers dying while working in the sewers. But despite the laws and official claims, the practice continues openly, with the full knowledge and sanction of the officials of the state. The vast majority of workers in manual scavenging have no other means of livelihood and are forced to carry out this inhuman work, simply to keep themselves and their families alive.


Share Everywhere

Oct 1-15 2018    Struggle for Rights    Rights     2018   

पार्टी के दस्तावेज

Click to Download PDFInterview with Comrade Lal Singh, General Secretary of Communist Ghadar Party of India

by Comrade Chandra Bhan, Editor of Mazdoor Ekta Lehar

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

History of Ghadar PartyA Presentation of Communist Ghadar Party of India

100 years ago Ghadar Party was formed by Indians in the US.It was historic milestone in our anti-colonial struggle.

The goal of this party was to organise a revolution to liberate our motherland from British servitude and establish a free and independent India with equal rights for all. It believed this to be the necessary condition for our people to hold their heads high anywhere in the world.

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

Call of the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party of India, 30th August, 2012

Working class representatives from all over the country are gathering on 4th September, at a time when a titanic struggle is going on in our country. The struggle is between the majority of toiling and exploited people and a minority of exploiters. It is between the majority whose labour expands wealth and the minority who enjoy the fruits of wealth creation on the basis of their private property and positions of power.

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

Call to the Working ClassDefeat the program of privatisation and liberalisation!

Fight with the aim of establishing workers’ and peasants’ rule!

Call of the Central Committee, Communist Ghadar Party, 23 February, 2012

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

Necessity for the working class to take political powerThe initiating speech, at the working class conference on the Way Forward held on 23-24 December 2011, was made by comrade Lal Singh, on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India. The document entitled the necessity for the working class to take political power has been edited based on the discussion in the conference and is being published according to the decision the Central Committee.

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)

Power to DecideVoice of the Communist Ghadar Party of India on the Power to Decide

This publication contains three statements issued by the Central Committee of Communist Ghadar Party on 1st, 18th & 28th Aug, 2011.

(Click thumbnail to download PDF)