Hundreds of women safai karmacharis gathered at the Jantar Mantar on August 28 in order expose the lies of the government about sewer and septic tank deaths at the Safai Karmachari Andolan’s (SKA’s) 475th day of #StopKillingUs campaign.
SKA gave a national call to stop telling lies and end sewer and septic tank deaths. At the protest, the women safai karmacharis stated that dalit lives and dalit deaths are invisible to the government. They declared that sewer and septic tank deaths are caste atrocities. So they don’t matter to the government with its casteist mindset.
As many as 59 Indian citizens were killed in sewer and septic tanks in 2023 but the government denied and lied to Parliament that only nine persons died. Pained and deeply anguished by these blatant and continuous lies, SKA gave this call.
SKA launched a nationwide #stopkillingus campaign on 11th May 2022 against government apathy on sewer and septic tank deaths. Since that day, safai karmachari women, youth, men and children have been campaigning for #StopKillingUs on the streets across the country every day without a break. August 28 was 475th day of the campaign.
Women who lost their family members in sewer and septic tank cleaning came with evidences of the deaths along with photos of the deceased persons and exposed the government’s lies. They narrated that the government denial and negligence has increased their trauma. The country has forced youth as young as 18 to 25 years to get killed in sewer and septic tanks.
59 citizens were killed in sewer and septic tanks in 2023 but government denied and lied in Parliament
SKA raised slogans, banners and placards at the protest site that pushed the demands; Guarantee Right to Life with dignity (Article 21), budget allocations to remove caste based discrimination in sanitation work, rehabilitation with dignity, zero tolerance for sewer and septic tank deaths etc.
The protest concluded with the declaration that the #StopKillingUs campaign will continue every day, till the government makes a truthful and satisfactory response.*National convenor, Safai Karmachari Andolan