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8 deaths due to manual scavenging in Delhi, UP in 10 days: Activists demand FIR against culprits

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) Expressing concern over eight deaths in the ten days in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi allegedly due to manual scavenging, activists demanded strict action against those who are responsible for forcing sanitation workers to clean septic tanks without safety gear.

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Under the banner of Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch (DASAM) and Justice News, activists at a press conference demanded that culprits be identified and FIR be immediately lodged under Manual Scavenging Act and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Talking to reporters, members of DASAM alleged that on May 2, a 57-year-old man and his 30-year-old son died while they were preparing a sewer line in Lucknow's Wazirgang area.

No officials from Jal Nigam visited the site for two hours and by the time they were taken to hospital, they were declared dead, they alleged.

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A senior advocate of the Supreme Court and founder of Human Rights Law Network Colin Gonsalves said, "It is horrifying that workers are forced to enter sewer line without any protocol, machines or oxygen gears to clean sewer line." Radhika Bordia, an independent journalist, said two daily wage workers died on May 3 after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning a septic tank of a private residence in Noida Sector 26.

"Another incident was reported from Mughalsarai where four people were killed while cleaning septic tank of a private residence," she said.

Bordia said that even after such incidents police do not take strict action.

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"Under the Manual Scavenging Act, there is a law to rehabilitate the family members of any victim, providing government job to one of the family members and proper compensation," another activist Roma said, adding that the process was not being carried out.

She said on May 12, a sanitation worker was killed while cleaning a sewer in Rohini in Delhi.

The DASAM members also said they needed to unionise to fight for justice in such cases. PTI BM BM SKY SKY

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