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Atrocious! Two Labourers Die in Septic Tank; NHRC Issues Notice

SabrangIndia 09 May 2019

Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Delhi Chief Secretary and the Police Commissioner, on Wednesday, after two men died while cleaning an unauthorized 10-feet deep septic tank at an under-construction house in Rohini,
Delhi on May 7.

Image result for Atrocious! Two Labourers Die in Septic Tank; NHRC Issues Notice


NHRC took suo motu cognisance of this atrocious issue after there were media reports regarding the death of two labourers.

Reportedly, the labourers had initially refused to clean the septic tank as they were not trained in such kind of work. However, they were then threatened by the mason and the house owner that if they do not work as per their conditions, they will not be given wages for three days.
Left with no option, the labourers agreed to do the work. In all, five men were affected of which two died after inhaling the poisonous fumes while the other three fell unconscious. They are still battling for their lives in the hospital.

According to the police, the incident took place around 1.30 pm when 35-year-old Ganesh Saha, along with Deepak Lambu, 30, both contractual workers, went to Bhagya Vihar in Prem Nagar to clean the tank. The three others, identified as Rambir, 37, Sher Singh, 40, and Babloo Kumar, 40, accompanied them.

A police officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “ Local residents told the police that while cleaning the tank, Saha and Lambu fell unconscious. Their three friends raised an alarm, called the locals and went inside to pull the two men out. They too fainted in the process. Local residents then got together and pulled the five men out. They were taken to a nearby hospital where Saha and Lambu were pronounced dead on arrival. The other three were referred to Sanjay Gandhi hospital for treatment. Babloo’s condition is critical.”

Local residents have alleged  that the house owner, Gulam Mustafa, had delayed pulling out the bodies of Saha and Lambu, which led to their death.

Deputy commissioner of police (Rohini) SD Mishra said a case had been registered under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 3(J) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and under Section 5/8 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers & Rehabilitation Act.

Lashing out at the Delhi government over its callous attitude, NHRC has asked for details regarding the issuance of any guidelines for prohibiting unauthorized construction and cleaning of septic tanks. Further, it has directed the government to provide proper instructions to deal with the issue.

NHRC has also condemned the attitude of the people gathered around the incident area and have called their inaction, citing that the labourers were untouchables, as ‘uncivilized.’

NHRC has called for a detailed report in the matter within six weeks.

Last year, at least 10 workers died in the Capital in such incidents. In September, six workers were killed while cleaning sewage tanks in west Delhi. In April last year, three workers died while cleaning a sewage treatment plant at a hotel in Delhi’s Khan Market.

There have been numerous such barbaric incidents across the nation in the past as well. Many labourers have lost their lives due to the presence of the irrational system of ‘caste-based profession.’ Stigmatized employment continues to be a part of our working sector. However, it is high time that we take action to overcome the centuries-old injustice meted out on our labour class.

Related Articles:

1.Manual scavenging, social exclusion of past even today play crucial role India’s sanitation outcome
2.The state of stigmatized employment in India: Need to overcome historical injustices of labouring
3.“You do not want us to occupy your space because we smell?”
4.Sewer Workers Deaths – The Meaning of Dalit for Bhartiya Janta Party
 

Atrocious! Two Labourers Die in Septic Tank; NHRC Issues Notice

Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Delhi Chief Secretary and the Police Commissioner, on Wednesday, after two men died while cleaning an unauthorized 10-feet deep septic tank at an under-construction house in Rohini,
Delhi on May 7.

Image result for Atrocious! Two Labourers Die in Septic Tank; NHRC Issues Notice


NHRC took suo motu cognisance of this atrocious issue after there were media reports regarding the death of two labourers.

Reportedly, the labourers had initially refused to clean the septic tank as they were not trained in such kind of work. However, they were then threatened by the mason and the house owner that if they do not work as per their conditions, they will not be given wages for three days.
Left with no option, the labourers agreed to do the work. In all, five men were affected of which two died after inhaling the poisonous fumes while the other three fell unconscious. They are still battling for their lives in the hospital.

According to the police, the incident took place around 1.30 pm when 35-year-old Ganesh Saha, along with Deepak Lambu, 30, both contractual workers, went to Bhagya Vihar in Prem Nagar to clean the tank. The three others, identified as Rambir, 37, Sher Singh, 40, and Babloo Kumar, 40, accompanied them.

A police officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “ Local residents told the police that while cleaning the tank, Saha and Lambu fell unconscious. Their three friends raised an alarm, called the locals and went inside to pull the two men out. They too fainted in the process. Local residents then got together and pulled the five men out. They were taken to a nearby hospital where Saha and Lambu were pronounced dead on arrival. The other three were referred to Sanjay Gandhi hospital for treatment. Babloo’s condition is critical.”

Local residents have alleged  that the house owner, Gulam Mustafa, had delayed pulling out the bodies of Saha and Lambu, which led to their death.

Deputy commissioner of police (Rohini) SD Mishra said a case had been registered under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 3(J) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and under Section 5/8 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers & Rehabilitation Act.

Lashing out at the Delhi government over its callous attitude, NHRC has asked for details regarding the issuance of any guidelines for prohibiting unauthorized construction and cleaning of septic tanks. Further, it has directed the government to provide proper instructions to deal with the issue.

NHRC has also condemned the attitude of the people gathered around the incident area and have called their inaction, citing that the labourers were untouchables, as ‘uncivilized.’

NHRC has called for a detailed report in the matter within six weeks.

Last year, at least 10 workers died in the Capital in such incidents. In September, six workers were killed while cleaning sewage tanks in west Delhi. In April last year, three workers died while cleaning a sewage treatment plant at a hotel in Delhi’s Khan Market.

There have been numerous such barbaric incidents across the nation in the past as well. Many labourers have lost their lives due to the presence of the irrational system of ‘caste-based profession.’ Stigmatized employment continues to be a part of our working sector. However, it is high time that we take action to overcome the centuries-old injustice meted out on our labour class.

Related Articles:

1.Manual scavenging, social exclusion of past even today play crucial role India’s sanitation outcome
2.The state of stigmatized employment in India: Need to overcome historical injustices of labouring
3.“You do not want us to occupy your space because we smell?”
4.Sewer Workers Deaths – The Meaning of Dalit for Bhartiya Janta Party
 

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