Press Release: Safai Karmachari Kaval Samiti, Karnataka condemns the death of a child and three men in an MP village on 31 July 2017
Safai Karmachari Kaval Samiti, Karnataka condemns the death of a child and three men in an MP village on 31 July 2017 while cleaning a septic tank, and demands immediate justice
Four men, Vijay Sihote (20), Ishwar Sihote (35), Dinesh Goyal (35), and Rinku Goyal ((16) from Bardu village of Madhya Pradesh were sent to clean a septic tank in the early hours of 31 July 2017 and suffocated to death after inhalation of toxic fumes. The men were engaged to empty a septic tank by Kamal Singh Sendhav for Rs. 8000/-. It is particularly unacceptable that a child was engaged in this activity explicitly prohibited by the law.
It is also alleged that a wall of the septic tank had collapsed and was the immediate cause of death. By the time earth moving machines had been mobilized and debris was removed, the four men had lost consciousness. Their bodies were shifted to the district hospital and post mortem is being conducted.
Under section 7 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013,expressly prohibits employment of persons for hazardous cleaning of a sewers or septic tanks and any contravention of this section is cognizable and a non-bailable offence under section 9 of the above Act. Additionally, offences are made out under section 3(1) (j) of the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 as amended in 2016, as well as under IPC sec 304. We demand that those who are guilty should be booked under the aforesaid provisions and arrested immediately for the death of these four men. We also demand that the investigation in the case should be fast tracked and that the case be tried in a special fast-track court.
As per the directions under the 2014 Supreme Court judgement in Safai Karamachari Andolan & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors family of the four men, should be provided a compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs each immediately and the state government should also take immediate steps towards providing a government job to one member of deceased family as per the provisions of the 2013 Act and 2014 SC judgement.
Apart from those who forced the men to clean the septic tank, we also hold responsible for their death the state officials who are duty bound under the 2013 Act to end the practice of manual scavenging. The state governments however continue to condone and aggravate this inhuman practice of manual scavenging that is taking its toll on thousands of youth. The government and the colluding officials are directly responsible for these deaths.. We demand that all those employed as manual scavengers in Madhya Pradesh should be identified and rehabilitated as per the provisions of the 2013 Act.