We Have Neither Money Nor Education: TN’s Manual Scavengers – The Quint
Pejawar seer for elimination of untouchability to stop forcible conversion – Deccan Herald
NCSC to hold inquiry on ‘discrimination’ against Dalits – India .Com
Husband of AAP MLA PromilaTokas arrested – The Indian Express
After 400 years, Garhwal temple allows entry to Dalits, women – The Times Of India
Note: Please find attachment for DMW Hindi ( PDF)
We Have Neither Money Nor Education: TN’s Manual Scavengers
The News Minute
Yesterday, 2:20 pm
The common refrain among the scheduled castes of Tamil Nadu is that they are forced to take up manual scavenging as, unlike upper caste people, they are neither educated nor have the money to invest in a business.
In 1993, the government banned manual scavenging – the handling of human faeces directly by humans. In 2013, it also banned the handling of human excreta in any form by expanding the definition of the term to include people who descend into manholes to unclog blocked drainage or to clean septic tanks.
However, in Tamil Nadu people of the Chakliyar, Domban, Parayar, Koaravan castes continue to do this work.
Manual Scavengers Limited by Lack of Other Opportunities
Thirty-nine-year old Koppaiya’s life is a summary of the problem and the contradictions of the system. Belonging to the Chakliyar caste, he works both under private contractors hired by the Chennai Corporation to clean the city’s clogged sewerage system and also cleans septic tanks in private houses.
He says that cleaning of septic tanks is the only work he knows.
Unlike people of the upper caste, we are not educated and do not have money to start our own business. So we are forced to continue to do what our fathers were doing.– Koppaiya, Sanitation Worker
Like other sanitation workers who end up doing manual scavenging, Koppaiya too is exposed to health risks and even a threat to his life.
The gases inside the septic tank are very harmful. Our eyes burn and they cause skin allergies. It can also cause breathing problems.—Koppaiya
For 32-year-old Zechariah, the profession has, in a manner of speaking, passed from father to son.
My father Lazar suffered from tuberculosis for 10 years and died in 1996 because he did this work. At the age of 17, I also started working as a sewage worker and have been doing it for 15 years now.– Zechariah, Sanitation Worker & Resident of Tambaram
Sewage workers earn between Rs 300 and Rs 600 for cleaning one septic tank. In a month they would be called to clean between four and six septic tanks, meaning that their earnings will not exceed Rs 3,000. Many of them also do domestic work and take up clerical jobs in hospitals when they are not hired by contractors for cleaning septic tanks.
In Madurai district’s Usilampatti village, Amutha’s story is slightly different.
Municipal Corporation officials come and threaten us not to go for sewage work but what other work can we go for?– Amutha, Sanitation Worker
Her husband died in a septic tank, but their son, Paalapati continues to do the work in Chennai to feed their family.
To add insult to injury, the children of sewage workers are ridiculed for their parents’ work.
Pushing For Implementation of Ban
In order to remind the state governments that they are supposed to put an end to this practice and also implement a 2013 Supreme Court order regarding the rehabilitation and compensation of manual scavengers, the SafaikaramchariAndolan has organised a 125-day BhimYatra.
The yatra, which began on 10 December last year, will cover 500 districts across the country and culminate on 13 April.
Currently in its Chennai leg, the Andolan urged the state government to pay Rs 10 lakh to the families of all deceased workers since 1993 and cash payment of Rs 40,000 as immediate relief to individual manual scavenging workers.
Time and again, deadlines and dates were set to end manual scavenging. Nothing changed. Manual scavenging is a manifestation of untouchability and caste oppression and is followed shamelessly till date.– Samuel Velankanni, Tamil Nadu Convenor of the Andolan to The News Minute
The law must be followed, but it must be supplemented with the provision of alternatives for people like Koppaiya, who say, ‘We are not educated and this is the only work that we know so we tend to do this for supporting our families.’
(The author Pheba Mathew works with The News minute.)
Pejawar seer for elimination of untouchability to stop forcible conversion
Manjushree G Naik, UDUPI, Jan 16, 2016, DHNS:
‘Dalits and other backward classes should be brought to mainstream’
Pejawar mutt seer Sri VishweshaTheertha Swami is all set to ascend the ParyayaPeetha for the record fifth time on January 18.
The countdown for the biannual has already started. In this backdrop, the seer shared his views on various issues, future plans, traditions and practices in the mutt and his love towards Dalits in an exclusive interview with Deccan Herald. The excerpts of the interview:
Deccan Herald: Your stance and feelings at this momentous occasion…
VishweshaTheertha Swami: I am happy that I have been blessed with the gift to serve Lord Krishna for the fifth time. Pressure from my junior seer made me accept the idea of ascending the ParyayaPeetha for the fifth time. I was of the opinion that it is better if he takes up the charge of the temple administration for two years. But he compelled me to accept the Peetha. Performing four Pary-ayas itself ensures the completeness of being a Sanyasi.
Would you introduce ‘Ede Snana’ replacing ‘Made Snana’ during your term?
‘Ede Snana’ would be held, but there would be no place for ‘Made Snana’.
What are your views on untouchability, forcible conversion, Dalits and their love for Buddhism?
Untouchability is the main evil that has increased the forcible conversion. Dalits and other backward classes should be brought to the mainstream of the society. Untouchability should be eliminated to stop forcible conversion. Dalits will have a red carpet welcome in the (Krishna) temple and also will be treated at par with any other devotees.
They will also dine with all other caste people inside the temple. The two-year term would witness revolutionary attempts to bring Dalits to the mainstream of Hinduism. Dalits would also be invited for Paryaya celebrations. Buddhism is part and parcel of Hinduism.
If Dalits want to accept Buddhism, there is no harm. But the people, who have worshiped idols and have followed the concept of God, will find it hard to accept Buddhism as there is no concept of God in Buddhism.
Would you oppose the extension of UPCL?
A mass movement is needed to protest against the expansion of UPCL’s second phase project. The extension should be done ensuring zero environment pollution. Adani was told about the pollution the plant has created, during his visit to the temple. The water and air pollution should be stopped. I would not be able to lead the protest. But I will support the agitation. But I am supposed be within the premises of Krishna mutt and the Car Street during my two-year Paryaya term.
How would you bring along the minorities in your walk towards discrimination less society?
Eid celebrations would be held in the temple and all attempts would be made to create harmony among the religions. Minorities are also a part of Paryaya celebrations. There is no truth behind the so called intellectuals’ claim that Pejawar seer is anti-Muslim. Muslim and other minorities should be treated equally and they should get all the rights mentioned in the Constitution.
What is your opinion on Yettinahole project?
There should be an open debate on Yettinahole project, including the experts. The government should take the affected into confidence and also convince them about the feasibilities before executing the project.
The problems that require urgent attention…
The atrocities against wom-en and Dalits should be curbed. The women are victimised. There should be protection for women and also there should be harmony among religions and castes.
Your opinion on reservation…
The time has not come to stop reservation and instead, the reservation should be extended to the most backward classes.
Your opinion on government’s decision to ban astrology predictions on media channels…
It is better to ban the astrology predictions being aired on media channels. They mislead the people. There should be restraints as the human and animal sacrifice and Devadasi system are still in prevalent owing to the fake astrologers.
Banning cow slaughter…
Cow slaughter should be banned and livestock resources in the country should be protected.
Any plans to invite Puttige seer to (Paryaya) Durbar…
There is a dilemma over inviting him to the Durbar owing to the fear that other seers might go to the extent of boycotting the Durbar. But, Puttige seer is a part of Ashta mutts and he would be given all the due respect. I do agree that there are a lot of internal differences among the seers of Astha mutts. I would not discuss it in the media. It is an internal issue and would be sorted out within ourselves.
NCSC to hold inquiry on ‘discrimination’ against Dalits
the Madras High Court had directed the district administration and police to swiftly act on a plea from a local whose deceased 100-year-old grandfather could not be buried
By Press Trust of India on January 15, 2016 at 10:10 PMEmail