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Karnataka powrakarmikas to get job permanency in 3 months!

Unions celebrate the first big success of a decades long battle for basic rights of sanitation workers

05 Jul 2022

Karnataka powrakarmikas

Bengaluru’s powrakarmikas or waste disposal and sanitation workers finally tasted victory on July 4, 2022 following a four-day strike across Karnataka, compelling the state government to accept demands for regularisation of their jobs. Authorities promised permanent jobs to the sanitation workers in the state within three months.

BBMP Powrakarmikara Sangha and Karnataka Pragatipara Powrakarmikara Sangha congratulated the waste disposal and sanitation workers across 31 districts who refused to pick-up garbage for four days. Thousands of workers gathered at Freedom Park in the state capital to voice their demand for permanency under the direct payment system.

Hailing the news, the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) to whom the protest groups are affiliated too congratulated them for fighting against the undignified working conditions. AICCTU State Committee member Maitreyi Krishnan said this is a definite victory for the workers.

“Powrakarmikas have been working here for the last 30 years. The workers are all from the Dalit community and primarily women. This decision by the government is definitely a step towards victory. And if the government fails on its promises we will have another struggle,” she said.

 

 

The government agreed to set up a committee with representatives of powrakarmika unions for job appointment rules. The committee will also look into implementation of ‘equal pay for equal work’ for workers. In pursuance of this, the legislative assembly will propose a special law in the upcoming assembly session.

Further, auto-drivers, helpers and loaders will be brought under the direct-payment system in all districts in a phased manner, except those in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). When asked about this distinction, Krishnan told SabrangIndia that this was an attempt by the authorities to create an “artificial difference” between BBMP and other auto-drivers, etc.

“It is claimed that the vehicles in other districts are owned by the administration whereas in Bengaluru, the vehicles are owned by the contractors. When in reality, the nature of the work is the same,” said Krishnan.

Unions leading the protest said it will continue to fight against illegal and exploitative contract system for these workers.

Additionally, the government also agreed to implement the IPD Salappa report that talks about the population to workers ratio and maternity benefits among other services. It may be noted that while the report was recommended in 1976, the socio-economic conditions of workers remain the same. Workers hold this report in high regard for its understanding of the evils of the contract system. Further, the report also aims to ensure that the caste-oriented occupation does not haunt younger generations by provision of scholarships for children of powrakarmikas, housing schemes, etc.

This year has been especially brutal on the city’s sanitation work force. On June 18, Bengaluru’s Hebbagodi police lathi-charged Bengali-speaking migrants living in the low income neighbourhoods, allegedly to forcefully evict them. Residents said the officials ignored their documents proving their Indian nationality. Similarly in May, police raided homes of Bengali-speaking migrants under the pretext of an “anti-Bangaldeshi drive”. These areas were home to rag-pickers employed by the BBMP.

According to Krishnan, these workers are an essential part of the system. Yet, they continue to suffer the “bogey of Bangladeshi migrants”. Earlier, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) had approached the High Court against such sudden evictions and demolitions. At the time, the court not only condemned the actions but also directed the government to provide due compensation for each house. Still, the struggles of workers continue.

Related:

Will Robot HomoSEP dignify work for India’s sanitation worker?

Karnataka Police allegedly harass West Bengal migrants in Bengaluru

Bengaluru Police raid, tear down homes of Bengali Muslim migrants

Karnataka powrakarmikas to get job permanency in 3 months!

Unions celebrate the first big success of a decades long battle for basic rights of sanitation workers

Karnataka powrakarmikas

Bengaluru’s powrakarmikas or waste disposal and sanitation workers finally tasted victory on July 4, 2022 following a four-day strike across Karnataka, compelling the state government to accept demands for regularisation of their jobs. Authorities promised permanent jobs to the sanitation workers in the state within three months.

BBMP Powrakarmikara Sangha and Karnataka Pragatipara Powrakarmikara Sangha congratulated the waste disposal and sanitation workers across 31 districts who refused to pick-up garbage for four days. Thousands of workers gathered at Freedom Park in the state capital to voice their demand for permanency under the direct payment system.

Hailing the news, the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) to whom the protest groups are affiliated too congratulated them for fighting against the undignified working conditions. AICCTU State Committee member Maitreyi Krishnan said this is a definite victory for the workers.

“Powrakarmikas have been working here for the last 30 years. The workers are all from the Dalit community and primarily women. This decision by the government is definitely a step towards victory. And if the government fails on its promises we will have another struggle,” she said.

 

 

The government agreed to set up a committee with representatives of powrakarmika unions for job appointment rules. The committee will also look into implementation of ‘equal pay for equal work’ for workers. In pursuance of this, the legislative assembly will propose a special law in the upcoming assembly session.

Further, auto-drivers, helpers and loaders will be brought under the direct-payment system in all districts in a phased manner, except those in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). When asked about this distinction, Krishnan told SabrangIndia that this was an attempt by the authorities to create an “artificial difference” between BBMP and other auto-drivers, etc.

“It is claimed that the vehicles in other districts are owned by the administration whereas in Bengaluru, the vehicles are owned by the contractors. When in reality, the nature of the work is the same,” said Krishnan.

Unions leading the protest said it will continue to fight against illegal and exploitative contract system for these workers.

Additionally, the government also agreed to implement the IPD Salappa report that talks about the population to workers ratio and maternity benefits among other services. It may be noted that while the report was recommended in 1976, the socio-economic conditions of workers remain the same. Workers hold this report in high regard for its understanding of the evils of the contract system. Further, the report also aims to ensure that the caste-oriented occupation does not haunt younger generations by provision of scholarships for children of powrakarmikas, housing schemes, etc.

This year has been especially brutal on the city’s sanitation work force. On June 18, Bengaluru’s Hebbagodi police lathi-charged Bengali-speaking migrants living in the low income neighbourhoods, allegedly to forcefully evict them. Residents said the officials ignored their documents proving their Indian nationality. Similarly in May, police raided homes of Bengali-speaking migrants under the pretext of an “anti-Bangaldeshi drive”. These areas were home to rag-pickers employed by the BBMP.

According to Krishnan, these workers are an essential part of the system. Yet, they continue to suffer the “bogey of Bangladeshi migrants”. Earlier, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) had approached the High Court against such sudden evictions and demolitions. At the time, the court not only condemned the actions but also directed the government to provide due compensation for each house. Still, the struggles of workers continue.

Related:

Will Robot HomoSEP dignify work for India’s sanitation worker?

Karnataka Police allegedly harass West Bengal migrants in Bengaluru

Bengaluru Police raid, tear down homes of Bengali Muslim migrants

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LHMC sanitation workers decry illegal termination

A month later, the sanitation workers held a demonstration outside the directors office to demand their dues

02 Jul 2022

whatsapp

Sanitation workers from Lady Hardinge’s Medical College (LHMC) and other institutions held a demonstration outside the hospital director’s residence in Delhi on June 28, 2022. They were protesting the institution's failure to reinstate workers as per court orders.

LHMC and Kalawati Saran Shishu Hospital sanitation workers have been agitating against illegal retrenchment since June 2 when the former administration suddenly fired workers. This move was against a May 31 Delhi High Court order that barred the hospital from terminating its employees. The order related to workers’ demand for minimum wages of around ₹ 7,000, including Kalawati Saran Children hospital staffers.

Workers initially wanted to present their problem in front of the Hospital Administration Director but the official refused to meet with the workers. Therefore, workers under the leadership of the All India Central Council of trade Unions (AICCTU) gathered outside the personnel’s residence to assert their rights.

“There is a clear demand of the sanitation workers that the court order be followed. But it is sad that despite the order of hiring employees, the hospital management is not taking the laborers to work,” said the AICCTU in a press release.

On June 14, Contract Karamchari Union’s advocate Kawalpreet Kaur reminded LHMC authorities that workers cannot be fired even if the contractor is changed.

“Other sanitation workers who were not part of the aforesaid petition, but have paid the ‘monthly cut’ and salary for their extension of contract, have been appointed through a new contractor in your hospital. This highlights the corruption that is going on in your hospital in the case of hiring contract workers,” she said in the letter to the administration.

Further, she accused the hospital and the contractor of coercing workers to take back their case against the hospital in the high court for their personal gains.

“This shows the intention of the hospital is to coerce and punish those workers who demand better living conditions, equal pay for equal work and unionise,” said Kawalpreet Kaur.

The union also sent a legal notice to the contractor but received no reply. Later, on June 17, Deputy Director (Administration) Z A Khan replied to the letter denying any knowledge of “any monthly cut and salary for continuance”. Further, he said any such allegation without confirmation has no merit. It then went on to state that the hospital complied with the court orders and that the “lapse is on the part of the Contractor only”.

Enraged by the response, AICCTU State Secretary Surya Prakash said, “See the helplessness or spinelessness of the Health ministry that they are not able to force the contractor to implement the high court order.”

The AICCTU condemned the hospital administration and their director for standing with the contractor despite the order in favour of workers.

Related:

LHMC’s sanitation workers detained for asserting rights

Stop Killing Us: Sanitation workers

Manual scavengers: Abandoned by state, derided by society

Manual scavenger deaths: Did Centre misrepresent death data in Parliament?

Gujarat: 12 sanitation workers dead, but no compensation?

LHMC sanitation workers decry illegal termination

A month later, the sanitation workers held a demonstration outside the directors office to demand their dues

whatsapp

Sanitation workers from Lady Hardinge’s Medical College (LHMC) and other institutions held a demonstration outside the hospital director’s residence in Delhi on June 28, 2022. They were protesting the institution's failure to reinstate workers as per court orders.

LHMC and Kalawati Saran Shishu Hospital sanitation workers have been agitating against illegal retrenchment since June 2 when the former administration suddenly fired workers. This move was against a May 31 Delhi High Court order that barred the hospital from terminating its employees. The order related to workers’ demand for minimum wages of around ₹ 7,000, including Kalawati Saran Children hospital staffers.

Workers initially wanted to present their problem in front of the Hospital Administration Director but the official refused to meet with the workers. Therefore, workers under the leadership of the All India Central Council of trade Unions (AICCTU) gathered outside the personnel’s residence to assert their rights.

“There is a clear demand of the sanitation workers that the court order be followed. But it is sad that despite the order of hiring employees, the hospital management is not taking the laborers to work,” said the AICCTU in a press release.

On June 14, Contract Karamchari Union’s advocate Kawalpreet Kaur reminded LHMC authorities that workers cannot be fired even if the contractor is changed.

“Other sanitation workers who were not part of the aforesaid petition, but have paid the ‘monthly cut’ and salary for their extension of contract, have been appointed through a new contractor in your hospital. This highlights the corruption that is going on in your hospital in the case of hiring contract workers,” she said in the letter to the administration.

Further, she accused the hospital and the contractor of coercing workers to take back their case against the hospital in the high court for their personal gains.

“This shows the intention of the hospital is to coerce and punish those workers who demand better living conditions, equal pay for equal work and unionise,” said Kawalpreet Kaur.

The union also sent a legal notice to the contractor but received no reply. Later, on June 17, Deputy Director (Administration) Z A Khan replied to the letter denying any knowledge of “any monthly cut and salary for continuance”. Further, he said any such allegation without confirmation has no merit. It then went on to state that the hospital complied with the court orders and that the “lapse is on the part of the Contractor only”.

Enraged by the response, AICCTU State Secretary Surya Prakash said, “See the helplessness or spinelessness of the Health ministry that they are not able to force the contractor to implement the high court order.”

The AICCTU condemned the hospital administration and their director for standing with the contractor despite the order in favour of workers.

Related:

LHMC’s sanitation workers detained for asserting rights

Stop Killing Us: Sanitation workers

Manual scavengers: Abandoned by state, derided by society

Manual scavenger deaths: Did Centre misrepresent death data in Parliament?

Gujarat: 12 sanitation workers dead, but no compensation?

Related Articles


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Zomato delivery man lay bleeding until Muslim colleague came to his aid

Allegedly stabbed for smoking, Sagar's pleas for help were ignored by passers by until Asif called for help

23 Jun 2022

 

Muslim Colleague
Image Courtesy: english.newstracklive.com

In a shocking incident a Zomato Delivery agent was stabbed and left to bleed to death in Delhi’s Tilak Nagar area on June 15, 2022. Passersby allegedly ignored the dying man’s pleas for help. It was only when his Muslim colleague Asif found out about it, that help finally arrived… though it was too late by then.

The deceased, identified as 29-year-old Sagar Singh, had picked up a late-night delivery from a restaurant near his home and had stopped to smoke a cigarette before going to deliver the food package. At this point, two men, said to be Nihangs, asked him to stop smoking. When Singh protested, they allegedly stabbed him.

But what is more shocking is the allegation that Singh lay at the spot for 15-20 minutes before anyone called for help. Passersby allegedly ignored his pleas for help. It was his colleague Asif who called for help when he arrived on the spot. He first called Singh’s wife and then just as he was trying to reach the police helpline, the customer who had ordered the delivery called and Asif asked him to call the police. By the time the ambulance arrived and Singh was taken to hospital, it was too late. He was declared 'brought dead'.

“Till the time I reached, nobody touched his body. It was already 15 minutes at least. If he would have been taken to the hospital in time, he might have been saved,” Asif said.

Singh’s brother-in-law Inder Pal who also works as a delivery agent told Hindustan Times, “Two Nihang Sikhs, who were present near the restaurant, abused Sagar for smoking. But when Sagar told them that he was smoking in an open space, and refused to stop, the two Nihangs got angry.” Pall alleged, “They took out their kirpans (daggers) and stabbed him in the left side of the chest.”

Deputy commissioner of police (west) Ghanshyam Bansal told the publication that the police arrested Harshdeep Singh, 22, a resident of nearby Chander Vihar, and the knife used in the murder was recovered from him. “During interrogation, Harshdeep told the police that he and his friend were near a restaurant on street number 13, Krishna Puri, when they saw Sagar blocking their way. He said they asked Sagar to move aside but he rebuked them instead,” said the DCP. Police are also investigating allegations of Singh being hit with bricks.

Meanwhile, Zomato has extended support to the deceased man’s family.

Related:

Hate Watch: Haribhushan Bachaul dubs Agnipath protesters “Jihadi”

Most troubling abuse of YouTube involves targeting of Muslims in India by BJP backers: NYU Stern Report

Zomato delivery man lay bleeding until Muslim colleague came to his aid

Allegedly stabbed for smoking, Sagar's pleas for help were ignored by passers by until Asif called for help

 

Muslim Colleague
Image Courtesy: english.newstracklive.com

In a shocking incident a Zomato Delivery agent was stabbed and left to bleed to death in Delhi’s Tilak Nagar area on June 15, 2022. Passersby allegedly ignored the dying man’s pleas for help. It was only when his Muslim colleague Asif found out about it, that help finally arrived… though it was too late by then.

The deceased, identified as 29-year-old Sagar Singh, had picked up a late-night delivery from a restaurant near his home and had stopped to smoke a cigarette before going to deliver the food package. At this point, two men, said to be Nihangs, asked him to stop smoking. When Singh protested, they allegedly stabbed him.

But what is more shocking is the allegation that Singh lay at the spot for 15-20 minutes before anyone called for help. Passersby allegedly ignored his pleas for help. It was his colleague Asif who called for help when he arrived on the spot. He first called Singh’s wife and then just as he was trying to reach the police helpline, the customer who had ordered the delivery called and Asif asked him to call the police. By the time the ambulance arrived and Singh was taken to hospital, it was too late. He was declared 'brought dead'.

“Till the time I reached, nobody touched his body. It was already 15 minutes at least. If he would have been taken to the hospital in time, he might have been saved,” Asif said.

Singh’s brother-in-law Inder Pal who also works as a delivery agent told Hindustan Times, “Two Nihang Sikhs, who were present near the restaurant, abused Sagar for smoking. But when Sagar told them that he was smoking in an open space, and refused to stop, the two Nihangs got angry.” Pall alleged, “They took out their kirpans (daggers) and stabbed him in the left side of the chest.”

Deputy commissioner of police (west) Ghanshyam Bansal told the publication that the police arrested Harshdeep Singh, 22, a resident of nearby Chander Vihar, and the knife used in the murder was recovered from him. “During interrogation, Harshdeep told the police that he and his friend were near a restaurant on street number 13, Krishna Puri, when they saw Sagar blocking their way. He said they asked Sagar to move aside but he rebuked them instead,” said the DCP. Police are also investigating allegations of Singh being hit with bricks.

Meanwhile, Zomato has extended support to the deceased man’s family.

Related:

Hate Watch: Haribhushan Bachaul dubs Agnipath protesters “Jihadi”

Most troubling abuse of YouTube involves targeting of Muslims in India by BJP backers: NYU Stern Report

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Lucknow: Two arrested for thrashing Dalit Zomato delivery boy

Oddly, despite previous strong stands against hate crimes against delivery persons, this time the company has maintained silence

23 Jun 2022

Zomato Dalit
Image Courtesy: thewire.in

Two people were arrested on June 21, 2022 for thrashing a 25-year-old Dalit food delivery executive allegedly after learning about his caste identity, reported the Indian Express. Police booked the persons for breach of peace while 13 other people have been named in an FIR by Lucknow police.

Delivery executive Vineet Kumar Rawat told the police he had gone to Sector H of the Ashiana colony on June 18 to deliver a food order. On reaching the house, the customer Ajay Singh answered the door and asked his name. According to Rawat’s complaint the customer used casteist slurs and refused to accept the food on learning he belonged to the Pasi community. Singh then spat tobacco on Rawat’s face when the latter asked the customer to cancel the order.

Following this, around 12 other people came out of the house and thrashed Rawat with sticks. The delivery boy finally escaped leaving his motorcycle and called the police control room. He added that he returned with a police team and got back his vehicle.

However, on Monday, Dainik Jagran reported that Rawat was apprehensive in lodging a formal complaint to the police. ACP Qasim Abidi reached out to Rawat who filed an FIR under sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), rioting with a deadly weapon and voluntarily causing hurt.

In 2019, a Zomato employee had faced similar discrimination when a customer refused to accept food from a “non-Hindu”. At the time, Zomato had staunchly stood with the delivery person at least on social media. Yet, this year the company is shockingly mum on the matter.

The silence in this case is particularly concerning as the company had responded in connection with the incident on June 15, when a Delhi Zomato delivery agent was stabbed and left to bleed to death in Tilak Nagar area. The 29-year-old Sagar Singh was only helped by a fellow Muslim colleague. At that time, the company did extend support to the employee’s family.

Incidents like these further highlight the lack of security for private company employees that provide 24-hours service to their customers. In Maharashtra’s Thane region, there was an incident wherein an Ola cab driver murdered by the very people who hailed his services on the app.

Maharashtra App-Based Transport Workers Union President Prashant Sawardekar had pointed out at the time how these companies leave their employees bereft of any form of security while on-duty. As the nature and wages from the work mostly attract youths from marginalised communities, there is a greater need for Zomato, Swiggy, Ola and Uber companies to pay attention to the employee policies.

Related:

International Day for Countering Hate Speech
MAT union writes to Thane police for support
CJP’s intervention saves another Indian in Assam
Cab drivers demand safety security code from Ola

Lucknow: Two arrested for thrashing Dalit Zomato delivery boy

Oddly, despite previous strong stands against hate crimes against delivery persons, this time the company has maintained silence

Zomato Dalit
Image Courtesy: thewire.in

Two people were arrested on June 21, 2022 for thrashing a 25-year-old Dalit food delivery executive allegedly after learning about his caste identity, reported the Indian Express. Police booked the persons for breach of peace while 13 other people have been named in an FIR by Lucknow police.

Delivery executive Vineet Kumar Rawat told the police he had gone to Sector H of the Ashiana colony on June 18 to deliver a food order. On reaching the house, the customer Ajay Singh answered the door and asked his name. According to Rawat’s complaint the customer used casteist slurs and refused to accept the food on learning he belonged to the Pasi community. Singh then spat tobacco on Rawat’s face when the latter asked the customer to cancel the order.

Following this, around 12 other people came out of the house and thrashed Rawat with sticks. The delivery boy finally escaped leaving his motorcycle and called the police control room. He added that he returned with a police team and got back his vehicle.

However, on Monday, Dainik Jagran reported that Rawat was apprehensive in lodging a formal complaint to the police. ACP Qasim Abidi reached out to Rawat who filed an FIR under sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), rioting with a deadly weapon and voluntarily causing hurt.

In 2019, a Zomato employee had faced similar discrimination when a customer refused to accept food from a “non-Hindu”. At the time, Zomato had staunchly stood with the delivery person at least on social media. Yet, this year the company is shockingly mum on the matter.

The silence in this case is particularly concerning as the company had responded in connection with the incident on June 15, when a Delhi Zomato delivery agent was stabbed and left to bleed to death in Tilak Nagar area. The 29-year-old Sagar Singh was only helped by a fellow Muslim colleague. At that time, the company did extend support to the employee’s family.

Incidents like these further highlight the lack of security for private company employees that provide 24-hours service to their customers. In Maharashtra’s Thane region, there was an incident wherein an Ola cab driver murdered by the very people who hailed his services on the app.

Maharashtra App-Based Transport Workers Union President Prashant Sawardekar had pointed out at the time how these companies leave their employees bereft of any form of security while on-duty. As the nature and wages from the work mostly attract youths from marginalised communities, there is a greater need for Zomato, Swiggy, Ola and Uber companies to pay attention to the employee policies.

Related:

International Day for Countering Hate Speech
MAT union writes to Thane police for support
CJP’s intervention saves another Indian in Assam
Cab drivers demand safety security code from Ola

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Karnataka Police allegedly harass West Bengal migrants in Bengaluru

Police ignore documents proving their India nationality, allegedly threaten violence

20 Jun 2022

West bengal migrants

Bengaluru’s Hebbagodi police on June 18, 2022 lathi-charged Bengali-speaking migrants living in Bengaluru's low income neighbourhoods, in an alleged bid to forcefully evict them from their homes. Incensed residents condemned the police for trying to label them as Bangladeshis despite presenting the required documents to prove their Indian nationality.

Nearly a month ago, police raided homes of Bengali-speaking migrants in Karnataka’s capital city under the pretext of an “anti-Bangaldeshi drive”. The Hebbagodi police joined in this raid and allegedly destroyed private property. Residents had barely recovered from this uncalled-for violence when on Saturday, two police personnel once again visited the Hulimangala area near Electronic City.

Two constables, one of whom residents allegedly identified as Viresh, assaulted residents Rabbani Sardar and Anees with lathis. The Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical College and Research Institute confirmed that Anees had suffered injuries to his hands and thighs, while Sardar suffered blows to his hip.

“I was in the office when the police came and demanded that we vacate the place, threatening to light the place on fire,” said Anees.

Anees even showed his documents from Delhi proving his nationality as Indian. However, he said the police refused to acknowledge the documents and called him a Bangladeshi. Meanwhile, the women said that the officers entered the kitchen and destroyed the food being cooked for children.

The community had come from Bengal and settled in Bengaluru, taking up work as sanitation workers. Members earned daily wages by picking up rags and segregating waste.

Yet, police allegedly threatened them with beatings and jail time, if they did not vacate the land within hours. One woman resident demanded how the government planned to provide for them – Indians – if they planned to evict legal Indian nationals.

What is even more shocking is that land-owner and BJP worker Syed Ilyas, recognised that the community lived in the region since 2014 and had migrated from West Bengal, as per a Deccan Herald report. The community is a mix of Hindus and Muslims. The newspaper reported that police cut off electricity and water supply lines and dug up a part of the road. They also allegedly tore the documents identifying the citizens as West Bengal migrants. Higher officials denied any such incident.

Similarly, on May 21, residents accused the police of targeting people based on their religion. Police officials barged inside homes with batons and demanded that people leave the area immediately. Some even accused men police officers of frisking women.

Like in the Saturday incident, The News Minute reported that police ignored Aadhaar documents and simply asked people to leave the city.

This was in sharp contrast to the treatment given to Dommasandra ‘s Bengali Hindus. While they too suffered a raid, the 26 or so families were left alone after they showed their documents to the police proving them to be Hindu migrants. All of these migrants belong to the Malda-Murshidabad region of West Bengal. Yet as per Hindu and Muslim accounts, the officials only targeted the Muslim migrants.

Such targeting of Muslim community has become common since the Khargone demolition in April. Parts of Delhi and Assam too reported such demolitions. However, more aggressive forms of these bulldozer-tactics are surfacing after the June 10 protests. Notably Allahabad’s local activist Javed Mohammad’s wife's ancestral house was destroyed on the pretext of land encroachment. Various cities are now seeing protests by people demanding action against such state-sponsored violence. Latest was a peace campaign by Mumbai’s Haq Hai group that appealed to all Muslim to peacefully yet assertively decry the bulldozer politics.

Related:

Indians stand united, don't allow Hate to prevail over Harmony

Distance dissent from hate! Haq Hai appeals to the Muslim community

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of alleged June 10 protesters to be demolished in UP?

Bengaluru Police raid, tear down homes of Bengali Muslim migrants

Karnataka Police allegedly harass West Bengal migrants in Bengaluru

Police ignore documents proving their India nationality, allegedly threaten violence

West bengal migrants

Bengaluru’s Hebbagodi police on June 18, 2022 lathi-charged Bengali-speaking migrants living in Bengaluru's low income neighbourhoods, in an alleged bid to forcefully evict them from their homes. Incensed residents condemned the police for trying to label them as Bangladeshis despite presenting the required documents to prove their Indian nationality.

Nearly a month ago, police raided homes of Bengali-speaking migrants in Karnataka’s capital city under the pretext of an “anti-Bangaldeshi drive”. The Hebbagodi police joined in this raid and allegedly destroyed private property. Residents had barely recovered from this uncalled-for violence when on Saturday, two police personnel once again visited the Hulimangala area near Electronic City.

Two constables, one of whom residents allegedly identified as Viresh, assaulted residents Rabbani Sardar and Anees with lathis. The Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical College and Research Institute confirmed that Anees had suffered injuries to his hands and thighs, while Sardar suffered blows to his hip.

“I was in the office when the police came and demanded that we vacate the place, threatening to light the place on fire,” said Anees.

Anees even showed his documents from Delhi proving his nationality as Indian. However, he said the police refused to acknowledge the documents and called him a Bangladeshi. Meanwhile, the women said that the officers entered the kitchen and destroyed the food being cooked for children.

The community had come from Bengal and settled in Bengaluru, taking up work as sanitation workers. Members earned daily wages by picking up rags and segregating waste.

Yet, police allegedly threatened them with beatings and jail time, if they did not vacate the land within hours. One woman resident demanded how the government planned to provide for them – Indians – if they planned to evict legal Indian nationals.

What is even more shocking is that land-owner and BJP worker Syed Ilyas, recognised that the community lived in the region since 2014 and had migrated from West Bengal, as per a Deccan Herald report. The community is a mix of Hindus and Muslims. The newspaper reported that police cut off electricity and water supply lines and dug up a part of the road. They also allegedly tore the documents identifying the citizens as West Bengal migrants. Higher officials denied any such incident.

Similarly, on May 21, residents accused the police of targeting people based on their religion. Police officials barged inside homes with batons and demanded that people leave the area immediately. Some even accused men police officers of frisking women.

Like in the Saturday incident, The News Minute reported that police ignored Aadhaar documents and simply asked people to leave the city.

This was in sharp contrast to the treatment given to Dommasandra ‘s Bengali Hindus. While they too suffered a raid, the 26 or so families were left alone after they showed their documents to the police proving them to be Hindu migrants. All of these migrants belong to the Malda-Murshidabad region of West Bengal. Yet as per Hindu and Muslim accounts, the officials only targeted the Muslim migrants.

Such targeting of Muslim community has become common since the Khargone demolition in April. Parts of Delhi and Assam too reported such demolitions. However, more aggressive forms of these bulldozer-tactics are surfacing after the June 10 protests. Notably Allahabad’s local activist Javed Mohammad’s wife's ancestral house was destroyed on the pretext of land encroachment. Various cities are now seeing protests by people demanding action against such state-sponsored violence. Latest was a peace campaign by Mumbai’s Haq Hai group that appealed to all Muslim to peacefully yet assertively decry the bulldozer politics.

Related:

Indians stand united, don't allow Hate to prevail over Harmony

Distance dissent from hate! Haq Hai appeals to the Muslim community

Bulldozer Injustice: Homes of alleged June 10 protesters to be demolished in UP?

Bengaluru Police raid, tear down homes of Bengali Muslim migrants

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Scrap the ‘Agnipath Scheme’, protesters stage violent protests countrywide

Violent scenes from Bihar, Haryana, New Delhi, Jammu and Jharkand have seriously exposed the Modi regime’s widely publicised Agnipath recruitment scheme for the army

16 Jun 2022

Agnipath scheme

Trains were set afire, rail and road traffic disputed, window panes of buses smashed, and passers-by, including a ruling BJP MLA, pelted with stones as the protests spread to multiple states across the country. The protests against the Armed Forces’ new recruitment plan Agnipath turned violent Thursday as aspirant’s disrupted rail and road traffic in several parts of Bihar, Haryana, New Delhi, Jammu and Jharkhand. Agnipath is the Central Government’s new recruitment policy for the defence forces under which about 45,000 people between the age of 17.5 years and 21 years will be inducted into the services for a four-year tenure. Protesters have been demanding the reinstatement of the previous recruitment system. There is serious concern that this is not just an informalisation of a serious profession but ensures no protection of service.

Images of trains being set on fire, rail and road traffic disputed, window panes of buses smashed, and passers-by, including a ruling BJP MLA, pelted with stones poured in as the protests spread to multiple states across the country. Protests were also seen at Delhi’s Nangloi Railway Station as aspirants stopped trains demanding a rollback of the decision. Similar scenes were also seen in Jammu where the police resorted to lathicharge outside the Army’s recruitment office at B C Road as hundreds of protestors blocked the busy Tawi bridge disrupting vehicular traffic. Hundreds of young people also took to the streets in Haryana’s Gurugram, Rewari and Palwal against the scheme. A police vehicle was damaged in stone pelting in Palwal and the Agra Chowk on National Highway 19 was blocked.

Meanwhile, in a clear attempt to pacify protesters, the Central Government released a “Myths vs Facts” document addressing the concerns raised on the recruitment plan. The government has said that those wishing to be entrepreneurs after their service as Agniveers will get a financial package and bank loan scheme and those wishing to study further will be given a 12th Class equivalent certificate and a bridging course for further studies, and those who want salaried jobs will be given priority in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and state police

Opposition parties have sharply criticised the new form of recruitment. As protests raged across several states against the new Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers across the three services, the Congress today asked the government to keep the scheme in “abeyance” and hold “wide consultations” with serving and retired officers arguing that the scheme seems to be “poorly conceived” and “hastily drawn up”. Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, former Union minister P Chidambaram said the scheme is “controversial, carries multiple risks, subverts the long-standing traditions and ethos of the armed forces and there is no guarantee that the soldiers recruited under the scheme will be better trained and motivated to defend the country”. He added, “We have read and heard the views expressed by retired defence officers. Almost unanimously, they have opposed the scheme and we believe that many serving officers share the same reservations about the scheme,” he said. The Congress said it has several concerns regarding the scheme – the first one being the short training and short service

Meanwhile, the Haryana home department suspended internet facilities in Palwal following protests against the Centre's new Agnipath scheme. “In order to maintain law and order in Palwal and to prevent any rumours being spread, the home department has imposed an immediate ban in Palwal district on mobile internet services, SMS, dongle services etc. The ban has been imposed on a temporary basis. This order shall remain in force for the next 24 hours. The banking and mobile recharge facilities will continue to function in the district”, the home department's order read.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly disapproves the ‘Agnipath’ scheme that does disservice to India’s national interests. Professional armed forces cannot be raised by recruiting ‘soldiers on contract’ for a period of four years, says the statement.. This scheme, to save pension money, severely compromises the quality and efficiency of our professional armed forces.

For the last two years there has been no recruitment in the Indian army. Instead of recruiting regular soldiers into the armed forces this scheme leaves such contract soldiers with no other prospects of employment after their four years. This creates a dangerous situation where they may end up serving private militias. This has hazardous implications for our social fabric already under severe strain. 

It is criminal to call upon our youth to be prepared to make the supreme sacrifice without the minimum protection of job security. The spontaneous protests in various parts of the country, reflects the anger against this scheme. 

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) has demanded that this ‘Agnipath’ scheme be scrapped forthwith and regular recruitment into the armed forces be undertaken urgently. 

Meanwhile this Facebook post by Meha Dhondiyal says it all,

“My dad was a teenager doing engineering when the 1962 war with china started, and in a fit of patriotism he volunteered to join the army. He was inducted as a 2nd Lieutenant, promoted to a Captain and served in the army for both 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan, after which as a Short Service Commission officer he was retired.  

“He got no pension, no gratuity, except the title of Captainsaheb from everyone which he tom-toms proudly even today.  He managed to make a decent life for himself and his family by working constantly, and in his 80s still works for his living. I have never heard him say a word against the army or ever bring up the point of not having a pension but when he has to work in his 80s when he should be retired comfortably with a pension, I can see it pinches him.

“Recently after a long battle by his fellow veterans(only a handful are alive) in court, a pension was ordered for the short service commission officers who took part in the war,  but the government  directed that only those should get pension if there was  direct fighting on their front. 

“This is a ridiculous directive. All regiments are ready during a war to combat whenever commanded. To differentiate between army men because the enemy attacked at a certain front and not at another is demeaning (because) a soldier doesn’t decide which regiment will fight. Nothing hurts my father more than this injustice. And nowadays he tells anyone who will listen about this injustice starting with "I was first and foremost a soldier...."

“Why am I telling u this story? Because this is the kind of chindi (cheap) mentality this government has towards the veterans. Remember this is not thousands of crores of rupees but depriving a few veterans in their 80s of pension at the end of their lives....

“Now imagine lakhs of young men like my dad, trained for four years as jawans, serving in conflict zones probably and booted out of the army at 26, with no, no pension or any perks for their service, starting from scratch for a career, with most alluring prospects as private militias or security. This is what the Agniveer plan is. 

How many bright young men do you think will opt to join the Government's short sighted Agnipath plan as Agniveers? Let one bureaucrat or minister volunteer their kid as an Agniveer.

 How many gun toting half-baked and frustrated young men will we give rise to?

And what kind of ad hoc army will we have?

Scrap the ‘Agnipath Scheme’, protesters stage violent protests countrywide

Violent scenes from Bihar, Haryana, New Delhi, Jammu and Jharkand have seriously exposed the Modi regime’s widely publicised Agnipath recruitment scheme for the army

Agnipath scheme

Trains were set afire, rail and road traffic disputed, window panes of buses smashed, and passers-by, including a ruling BJP MLA, pelted with stones as the protests spread to multiple states across the country. The protests against the Armed Forces’ new recruitment plan Agnipath turned violent Thursday as aspirant’s disrupted rail and road traffic in several parts of Bihar, Haryana, New Delhi, Jammu and Jharkhand. Agnipath is the Central Government’s new recruitment policy for the defence forces under which about 45,000 people between the age of 17.5 years and 21 years will be inducted into the services for a four-year tenure. Protesters have been demanding the reinstatement of the previous recruitment system. There is serious concern that this is not just an informalisation of a serious profession but ensures no protection of service.

Images of trains being set on fire, rail and road traffic disputed, window panes of buses smashed, and passers-by, including a ruling BJP MLA, pelted with stones poured in as the protests spread to multiple states across the country. Protests were also seen at Delhi’s Nangloi Railway Station as aspirants stopped trains demanding a rollback of the decision. Similar scenes were also seen in Jammu where the police resorted to lathicharge outside the Army’s recruitment office at B C Road as hundreds of protestors blocked the busy Tawi bridge disrupting vehicular traffic. Hundreds of young people also took to the streets in Haryana’s Gurugram, Rewari and Palwal against the scheme. A police vehicle was damaged in stone pelting in Palwal and the Agra Chowk on National Highway 19 was blocked.

Meanwhile, in a clear attempt to pacify protesters, the Central Government released a “Myths vs Facts” document addressing the concerns raised on the recruitment plan. The government has said that those wishing to be entrepreneurs after their service as Agniveers will get a financial package and bank loan scheme and those wishing to study further will be given a 12th Class equivalent certificate and a bridging course for further studies, and those who want salaried jobs will be given priority in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and state police

Opposition parties have sharply criticised the new form of recruitment. As protests raged across several states against the new Agnipath scheme for recruiting soldiers across the three services, the Congress today asked the government to keep the scheme in “abeyance” and hold “wide consultations” with serving and retired officers arguing that the scheme seems to be “poorly conceived” and “hastily drawn up”. Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters, former Union minister P Chidambaram said the scheme is “controversial, carries multiple risks, subverts the long-standing traditions and ethos of the armed forces and there is no guarantee that the soldiers recruited under the scheme will be better trained and motivated to defend the country”. He added, “We have read and heard the views expressed by retired defence officers. Almost unanimously, they have opposed the scheme and we believe that many serving officers share the same reservations about the scheme,” he said. The Congress said it has several concerns regarding the scheme – the first one being the short training and short service

Meanwhile, the Haryana home department suspended internet facilities in Palwal following protests against the Centre's new Agnipath scheme. “In order to maintain law and order in Palwal and to prevent any rumours being spread, the home department has imposed an immediate ban in Palwal district on mobile internet services, SMS, dongle services etc. The ban has been imposed on a temporary basis. This order shall remain in force for the next 24 hours. The banking and mobile recharge facilities will continue to function in the district”, the home department's order read.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly disapproves the ‘Agnipath’ scheme that does disservice to India’s national interests. Professional armed forces cannot be raised by recruiting ‘soldiers on contract’ for a period of four years, says the statement.. This scheme, to save pension money, severely compromises the quality and efficiency of our professional armed forces.

For the last two years there has been no recruitment in the Indian army. Instead of recruiting regular soldiers into the armed forces this scheme leaves such contract soldiers with no other prospects of employment after their four years. This creates a dangerous situation where they may end up serving private militias. This has hazardous implications for our social fabric already under severe strain. 

It is criminal to call upon our youth to be prepared to make the supreme sacrifice without the minimum protection of job security. The spontaneous protests in various parts of the country, reflects the anger against this scheme. 

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) has demanded that this ‘Agnipath’ scheme be scrapped forthwith and regular recruitment into the armed forces be undertaken urgently. 

Meanwhile this Facebook post by Meha Dhondiyal says it all,

“My dad was a teenager doing engineering when the 1962 war with china started, and in a fit of patriotism he volunteered to join the army. He was inducted as a 2nd Lieutenant, promoted to a Captain and served in the army for both 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan, after which as a Short Service Commission officer he was retired.  

“He got no pension, no gratuity, except the title of Captainsaheb from everyone which he tom-toms proudly even today.  He managed to make a decent life for himself and his family by working constantly, and in his 80s still works for his living. I have never heard him say a word against the army or ever bring up the point of not having a pension but when he has to work in his 80s when he should be retired comfortably with a pension, I can see it pinches him.

“Recently after a long battle by his fellow veterans(only a handful are alive) in court, a pension was ordered for the short service commission officers who took part in the war,  but the government  directed that only those should get pension if there was  direct fighting on their front. 

“This is a ridiculous directive. All regiments are ready during a war to combat whenever commanded. To differentiate between army men because the enemy attacked at a certain front and not at another is demeaning (because) a soldier doesn’t decide which regiment will fight. Nothing hurts my father more than this injustice. And nowadays he tells anyone who will listen about this injustice starting with "I was first and foremost a soldier...."

“Why am I telling u this story? Because this is the kind of chindi (cheap) mentality this government has towards the veterans. Remember this is not thousands of crores of rupees but depriving a few veterans in their 80s of pension at the end of their lives....

“Now imagine lakhs of young men like my dad, trained for four years as jawans, serving in conflict zones probably and booted out of the army at 26, with no, no pension or any perks for their service, starting from scratch for a career, with most alluring prospects as private militias or security. This is what the Agniveer plan is. 

How many bright young men do you think will opt to join the Government's short sighted Agnipath plan as Agniveers? Let one bureaucrat or minister volunteer their kid as an Agniveer.

 How many gun toting half-baked and frustrated young men will we give rise to?

And what kind of ad hoc army will we have?

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Will Robot HomoSEP dignify work for India’s sanitation worker?

Robot to clean septic tanks, dignify sanitation work, sans human intervention is here

10 Jun 2022

HomoSEP dignify work for India’s sanitation worker

Tamil Nadu will soon take the path breaking step to dignify the work of the sanitation worker, the safai kamgar. HomoSEP, a robot to clean the septic tank will shortly be deployed across the State, The Hindu reports. This long overdue intervention needed to dignify and mechanise this work, work that is not recognised by a deeply stratified Indian state and society comes in the form of a robot that was developed by researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras. It does not require human intervention and can be operated above ground by sanitation workers.

Prabhu Rajagopal of the Centre for Non-destructive Evaluation and faculty in the Mechanical Engineering department at the institute, who leads the team, said it was in touch with sanitation workers and the entire effort supported by the non-governmental organisation Safai Karamchari Andolan.  The team worked with Solinas Integrity, a start-up incubated at the institute. The first of the two HomoSEP units had been provided to self-help groups led by Nagamma and Ruth Mary, whose husbands died during sanitation work. Solinas Integrity is training sanitation workers to operate the unit.

The researchers are today in the process of identifying locations for deploying the robot. There are proposals to deploy them in Gujarat and Maharashtra. The first two HomoSEP units had been provided to self-help groups led by Nagamma and Ruth Mary, whose husbands died during sanitation work. Prabhu, principal investigator of the project, said the HomoSEP brought together the key stakeholders and hoped their effort would inspire others to join the push to develop a solution to a pressing social problem. He had guided a student Divanshu Kumar, who developed the product as a final year master’s project and in 2019 it was showcased in IIT Madras Carbon Zerp Challenge and received seed money to take it forward.

“We hope to leverage support from government channels to mass-produce and distribute our solution on a much larger scale throughout the country from next year,” he said. Since then the project had received financial support through CSR from several companies. Solinas Integrity is training sanitation workers to operate the unit.

‘Stop Killing Us’, a campaign by the Safai Karmachari Andolan

Just a fortnight ago, a powerful, 75-day old campaign, “ Stop Killing ” was successfully launched by the SKA, decrying the deaths of sanitation workers in sewers and septic tanks.

 

 

Needless to say, this campaign that also exposes the ineffective application of the 2013, Prohibition as Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, found scant response in India’s commercial media. It had called for protests across India where workers will demand due recognition and compensation for deaths in sewers, septic tanks. Focused in the national capital until May 18 and then branched out to different cities. In recent days, the campaign reached, Uttarakhand’s Dehradun, Rajasthan’s Sikar, Haryana’s Sadhaura. In all these places, sanitation workers gathered and held up huge block letters making up the phrase “STOP KILLING US.” Many other regions also reported such protests.

Numbers

Recently, despite admitting to the reported 620 deaths since 1993, the Government not realising its responsibility to end the draconian practice, in reply to a question, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister of State Ramdas Athawale had briefed the Lok Sabha that –a) only in 445 cases had compensation been paid; b) 58 cases were settled partially settled c) 117 cases were pending.

Further, it was also stated that 53,598 manual scavengers had been identified from December 6, 2013 till June 30, 2019 and while the 2013 Act prohibits employing persons for manual scavenging, there were no conviction reports filed by the State/Union territory. While being asked whether the 2013 Act was to be amended to make such reporting compulsory, the minister expressed no plans for the same. A report by Scroll.in also highlighted this issue of under-reporting as evident from the data that was shown by the ministry that elucidated the registered deaths in such cases in the last five years till 2020, to be: 52 in Uttar Pradesh; 42 in Tamil Nadu36 in Delhi; 34 in Maharashtra; 31 each in Haryana and Gujarat. Southern states like Tamil Nadu with 145 deaths and a similarly high number in Karnataka, Telangana and even Kerala, the lives of the safai karmachari are clearly viewed very cheaply in India

Scroll.in reported, as per a ministry of social justice and empowerment bureaucrat elaborating on the last 27 years statistics up to 2020 that:  (i) Manual scavenging work led to death of 1,013 people; (ii) FIRs were filed in only 462 cases; (iii) In most of these cases, specifically, 418, only negligence by death under Section 304, IPC was invoked; (iv) 44 cases registered as accidental deaths; (v) 37 FIRs that amount to less than 1% mention the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act

Hopefully if the robot, HomeSep is applied widely, some dignity and sanity will finally be accorded our sanitation workers.

 

Related:

Stop Killing Us: Sanitation workers

Manual scavengers: Abandoned by state, derided by society

Manual scavenger deaths: Did Centre misrepresent death data in Parliament?

Gujarat: 12 sanitation workers dead, but no compensation?

No death due to manual scavenging: Social Justice Minister Athawale

https://cjp.org.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/White-Paper-Sanitation-workers.pdf

Manual scavenger deaths: How effective is the law in preventing them?

 

Will Robot HomoSEP dignify work for India’s sanitation worker?

Robot to clean septic tanks, dignify sanitation work, sans human intervention is here

HomoSEP dignify work for India’s sanitation worker

Tamil Nadu will soon take the path breaking step to dignify the work of the sanitation worker, the safai kamgar. HomoSEP, a robot to clean the septic tank will shortly be deployed across the State, The Hindu reports. This long overdue intervention needed to dignify and mechanise this work, work that is not recognised by a deeply stratified Indian state and society comes in the form of a robot that was developed by researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras. It does not require human intervention and can be operated above ground by sanitation workers.

Prabhu Rajagopal of the Centre for Non-destructive Evaluation and faculty in the Mechanical Engineering department at the institute, who leads the team, said it was in touch with sanitation workers and the entire effort supported by the non-governmental organisation Safai Karamchari Andolan.  The team worked with Solinas Integrity, a start-up incubated at the institute. The first of the two HomoSEP units had been provided to self-help groups led by Nagamma and Ruth Mary, whose husbands died during sanitation work. Solinas Integrity is training sanitation workers to operate the unit.

The researchers are today in the process of identifying locations for deploying the robot. There are proposals to deploy them in Gujarat and Maharashtra. The first two HomoSEP units had been provided to self-help groups led by Nagamma and Ruth Mary, whose husbands died during sanitation work. Prabhu, principal investigator of the project, said the HomoSEP brought together the key stakeholders and hoped their effort would inspire others to join the push to develop a solution to a pressing social problem. He had guided a student Divanshu Kumar, who developed the product as a final year master’s project and in 2019 it was showcased in IIT Madras Carbon Zerp Challenge and received seed money to take it forward.

“We hope to leverage support from government channels to mass-produce and distribute our solution on a much larger scale throughout the country from next year,” he said. Since then the project had received financial support through CSR from several companies. Solinas Integrity is training sanitation workers to operate the unit.

‘Stop Killing Us’, a campaign by the Safai Karmachari Andolan

Just a fortnight ago, a powerful, 75-day old campaign, “ Stop Killing ” was successfully launched by the SKA, decrying the deaths of sanitation workers in sewers and septic tanks.

 

 

Needless to say, this campaign that also exposes the ineffective application of the 2013, Prohibition as Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, found scant response in India’s commercial media. It had called for protests across India where workers will demand due recognition and compensation for deaths in sewers, septic tanks. Focused in the national capital until May 18 and then branched out to different cities. In recent days, the campaign reached, Uttarakhand’s Dehradun, Rajasthan’s Sikar, Haryana’s Sadhaura. In all these places, sanitation workers gathered and held up huge block letters making up the phrase “STOP KILLING US.” Many other regions also reported such protests.

Numbers

Recently, despite admitting to the reported 620 deaths since 1993, the Government not realising its responsibility to end the draconian practice, in reply to a question, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister of State Ramdas Athawale had briefed the Lok Sabha that –a) only in 445 cases had compensation been paid; b) 58 cases were settled partially settled c) 117 cases were pending.

Further, it was also stated that 53,598 manual scavengers had been identified from December 6, 2013 till June 30, 2019 and while the 2013 Act prohibits employing persons for manual scavenging, there were no conviction reports filed by the State/Union territory. While being asked whether the 2013 Act was to be amended to make such reporting compulsory, the minister expressed no plans for the same. A report by Scroll.in also highlighted this issue of under-reporting as evident from the data that was shown by the ministry that elucidated the registered deaths in such cases in the last five years till 2020, to be: 52 in Uttar Pradesh; 42 in Tamil Nadu36 in Delhi; 34 in Maharashtra; 31 each in Haryana and Gujarat. Southern states like Tamil Nadu with 145 deaths and a similarly high number in Karnataka, Telangana and even Kerala, the lives of the safai karmachari are clearly viewed very cheaply in India

Scroll.in reported, as per a ministry of social justice and empowerment bureaucrat elaborating on the last 27 years statistics up to 2020 that:  (i) Manual scavenging work led to death of 1,013 people; (ii) FIRs were filed in only 462 cases; (iii) In most of these cases, specifically, 418, only negligence by death under Section 304, IPC was invoked; (iv) 44 cases registered as accidental deaths; (v) 37 FIRs that amount to less than 1% mention the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act

Hopefully if the robot, HomeSep is applied widely, some dignity and sanity will finally be accorded our sanitation workers.

 

Related:

Stop Killing Us: Sanitation workers

Manual scavengers: Abandoned by state, derided by society

Manual scavenger deaths: Did Centre misrepresent death data in Parliament?

Gujarat: 12 sanitation workers dead, but no compensation?

No death due to manual scavenging: Social Justice Minister Athawale

https://cjp.org.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/White-Paper-Sanitation-workers.pdf

Manual scavenger deaths: How effective is the law in preventing them?

 

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UP Govt announced Rs 21 lakhs earned from auction of migrant workers’ cycles, earns flak

Confiscation of their only means of transport and then such a unilateral sale in an auction has raised serious questions

09 Jun 2022

migrant workers

Widespread media reports of the UP government’s earnings from the auction of thousands of cycles bringing hapless migrant workers home during the pandemic has drawn flak. A few days ago, Kinshuk Srivastava, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Sadar announced that a  total of ₹21.2 lakh collected through the auction of the bicycles on Friday has been deposited in the state exchequer. While the SDM has also concluded that “It is now the discretion of the state government how to utilise the money,” the seizure of cycles of India’s most marginalized citizens, a seizure that could be questioned in both moral and legal terms leaves this conclusion open to interpretation.

Apparently, while 14,600 labourers later returned Saharanpur and collected their bicycles, the remaining 5,400 bicycles turned into scrap. The labourers were given a token with the number inscribed on the cushions of these cycles. “After waiting for two years, the administration decided to auction the bicycles,” the SDM said.

During the Covid pandemic-induced lockdown in early 2020, nearly 25,000 migrant workers reached Saharanpur on bicycles while heading back to their native places in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from their places of work in Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. While stopping the workers desperate to return home, the rationale behind the confiscation of their own cycles is open to serious question. The Saharanpur district administration has auctioned 5,400 bicycles left behind by migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar while rushing home during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, a senior official aware of the development said last Saturday.  Reports in the Hindustan Times, Times of India and Zee news have announced this government decision.

Two years ago, the state administration was arbitrarily stopping migrating workers, desperate to return home. This is after the central government under Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, peremptorily ordered a lockdown at four hours’ notice on the late night of March 23, 2020 causing panic. During this period, Uttar Pradesh stopped the worker on a cycle, confiscated his only means of transport and quarantined those returning. They were then sent them further by bus and train. But their cycles remained here. The Uttar Pradesh government collected Rs 21 lakh from thousands of cycles confiscated from laborers going towards their homes in lockdown. Saharanpur district auctioned 5400 such confiscated cycles of laborers, which the laborers could not come to collect. Why did the administration have to auction the bicycles of thousands of labourers.

Thousands of bicycles seized from laborers in Corona lockdown are lying in a deserted ground in Saharanpur in the form of junk today. A token of the number written on the cushions of these cycles was given to those laborers. But the laborers who returned hundreds of kilometers away might have neither the courage nor the money left, who would have come to collect the junked bicycles after spending the rent. Therefore, after waiting for two years, the administration auctioned more than 5000 cycles of laborers for Rs 21 lakh. Hindustan Times reported how, Jeetendra, who bought these thousands of cycles in the auction, is also upset.

The pictures of the suffering of the workers in the Corona lockdown has faded from public memory now. The unilateral sale of their only means of transport back home by an arrogant government that did not take measures to return them is ironic testimony to how little their lives matter.

 After the pandemic, there are now government claims of everything being good on one side. On the other hand, these cycles remain a symbol of the great exodus of laborers.


Related:

 

Migrant labourers: Guests or victims?

BREAKING: Stranded people including migrant workers permitted inter-state travel amidst Covid-19 lockdown

Rajasthan makes arrangements for safe passage of migrants

#LetMigrantsVote

 

UP Govt announced Rs 21 lakhs earned from auction of migrant workers’ cycles, earns flak

Confiscation of their only means of transport and then such a unilateral sale in an auction has raised serious questions

migrant workers

Widespread media reports of the UP government’s earnings from the auction of thousands of cycles bringing hapless migrant workers home during the pandemic has drawn flak. A few days ago, Kinshuk Srivastava, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), Sadar announced that a  total of ₹21.2 lakh collected through the auction of the bicycles on Friday has been deposited in the state exchequer. While the SDM has also concluded that “It is now the discretion of the state government how to utilise the money,” the seizure of cycles of India’s most marginalized citizens, a seizure that could be questioned in both moral and legal terms leaves this conclusion open to interpretation.

Apparently, while 14,600 labourers later returned Saharanpur and collected their bicycles, the remaining 5,400 bicycles turned into scrap. The labourers were given a token with the number inscribed on the cushions of these cycles. “After waiting for two years, the administration decided to auction the bicycles,” the SDM said.

During the Covid pandemic-induced lockdown in early 2020, nearly 25,000 migrant workers reached Saharanpur on bicycles while heading back to their native places in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from their places of work in Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. While stopping the workers desperate to return home, the rationale behind the confiscation of their own cycles is open to serious question. The Saharanpur district administration has auctioned 5,400 bicycles left behind by migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar while rushing home during the nationwide lockdown in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, a senior official aware of the development said last Saturday.  Reports in the Hindustan Times, Times of India and Zee news have announced this government decision.

Two years ago, the state administration was arbitrarily stopping migrating workers, desperate to return home. This is after the central government under Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, peremptorily ordered a lockdown at four hours’ notice on the late night of March 23, 2020 causing panic. During this period, Uttar Pradesh stopped the worker on a cycle, confiscated his only means of transport and quarantined those returning. They were then sent them further by bus and train. But their cycles remained here. The Uttar Pradesh government collected Rs 21 lakh from thousands of cycles confiscated from laborers going towards their homes in lockdown. Saharanpur district auctioned 5400 such confiscated cycles of laborers, which the laborers could not come to collect. Why did the administration have to auction the bicycles of thousands of labourers.

Thousands of bicycles seized from laborers in Corona lockdown are lying in a deserted ground in Saharanpur in the form of junk today. A token of the number written on the cushions of these cycles was given to those laborers. But the laborers who returned hundreds of kilometers away might have neither the courage nor the money left, who would have come to collect the junked bicycles after spending the rent. Therefore, after waiting for two years, the administration auctioned more than 5000 cycles of laborers for Rs 21 lakh. Hindustan Times reported how, Jeetendra, who bought these thousands of cycles in the auction, is also upset.

The pictures of the suffering of the workers in the Corona lockdown has faded from public memory now. The unilateral sale of their only means of transport back home by an arrogant government that did not take measures to return them is ironic testimony to how little their lives matter.

 After the pandemic, there are now government claims of everything being good on one side. On the other hand, these cycles remain a symbol of the great exodus of laborers.


Related:

 

Migrant labourers: Guests or victims?

BREAKING: Stranded people including migrant workers permitted inter-state travel amidst Covid-19 lockdown

Rajasthan makes arrangements for safe passage of migrants

#LetMigrantsVote

 

Related Articles


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Doloo workers demand release of public hearing on Greenfield airport

Workers demand fiscal support for tea workers who have been left unemployed amidst this controversy

09 Jun 2022

doloo

Assam’s concerned trade unions held a public meeting at Guwahati Press Club on June 7, 2022 demanding that the public hearing report pertaining to the Doloo tea estate be made public.

On Tuesday, the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), the Asom Sramik Union, the All India Krishak Sabha and others jointly held a meeting to protest the alleged eviction of Doloo tea estate workers.

“Stop transferring tea industry land to other industries or other businesses. The public meeting decided to submit a memorandum signed by various labor organisations, democratic organisations, opposition parties and citizens to the Hon'ble Governor and Chief Secretary of Assam demanding a high-level investigation into the eviction in the name of construction of fake airport,” said the unions in a joint statement.

doloo

doloo

Assam Mojuri Shramik Union (AMSU) General Secretary Mrinal Kanti Shome present at the event also spoke about a to evict the tea estate workers to construct the Greenfield Airport in the region. Shome said this violates all provisions under the Land Acquisition Act and demanded the immediate cancellation of this decision.

“The Government of India has made it clear that it has neither proposed nor approved the opening of any greenfield airport in Silchar. The Assam government has not made any proposal to the Centre. So why were three lakhs tea trees uprooted from 2,500 bighas of land? There is a possibility of a deep conspiracy in this matter and therefore demands a high-level investigation,” said leaders.

On March 12, workers were shocked to see bulldozers enter the area and destroy their source of livelihood. While authorities cite an MoU signed by three major trade unions in the area, workers maintain that they were not consulted in the process.

As such, AMSU and similar organisations have talked about how many workers face the threat of unemployment if the project is approved. Regarding the unemployed permanent and temporary workers, members said they should be employed immediately. Further, they said compensatory fiscal amount should be paid to workers until employment cannot be provided.

After the March demolition, Section 144 was also imposed in the area, restricting the movement of workers. Leaders like AITUC State President Munin Mohanta said the police force should be withdrawn from the plantations to end police torture.

For all this, workers announced a plan to hold a protest in Guwahati in the near future. Other leaders like Asom Sangrami Cha sramik Sangha President Vivek Das, AICCTU State President Biren Kalita and AIUTUC leaders Pramod Bhagwati, TUCC leader among others also attended the event.

Prominent intellectual Apurba Bara's written statement was read in the meeting.

Related:

Assam: Tension builds at Doloo, leaders called in for questioning

AMSU leader Dharitri Sarma released!

AMSU’s Mrinal Shome released, but another leader detained

Doloo estate trade union leader detained!

Assam: Doloo Tea Estate workers out on streets in protest

India’s tribal groups demand justice for Assam's tea estate workers

Doloo tea estate workers protest Greenfield Airport project

Doloo workers demand release of public hearing on Greenfield airport

Workers demand fiscal support for tea workers who have been left unemployed amidst this controversy

doloo

Assam’s concerned trade unions held a public meeting at Guwahati Press Club on June 7, 2022 demanding that the public hearing report pertaining to the Doloo tea estate be made public.

On Tuesday, the All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), the Asom Sramik Union, the All India Krishak Sabha and others jointly held a meeting to protest the alleged eviction of Doloo tea estate workers.

“Stop transferring tea industry land to other industries or other businesses. The public meeting decided to submit a memorandum signed by various labor organisations, democratic organisations, opposition parties and citizens to the Hon'ble Governor and Chief Secretary of Assam demanding a high-level investigation into the eviction in the name of construction of fake airport,” said the unions in a joint statement.

doloo

doloo

Assam Mojuri Shramik Union (AMSU) General Secretary Mrinal Kanti Shome present at the event also spoke about a to evict the tea estate workers to construct the Greenfield Airport in the region. Shome said this violates all provisions under the Land Acquisition Act and demanded the immediate cancellation of this decision.

“The Government of India has made it clear that it has neither proposed nor approved the opening of any greenfield airport in Silchar. The Assam government has not made any proposal to the Centre. So why were three lakhs tea trees uprooted from 2,500 bighas of land? There is a possibility of a deep conspiracy in this matter and therefore demands a high-level investigation,” said leaders.

On March 12, workers were shocked to see bulldozers enter the area and destroy their source of livelihood. While authorities cite an MoU signed by three major trade unions in the area, workers maintain that they were not consulted in the process.

As such, AMSU and similar organisations have talked about how many workers face the threat of unemployment if the project is approved. Regarding the unemployed permanent and temporary workers, members said they should be employed immediately. Further, they said compensatory fiscal amount should be paid to workers until employment cannot be provided.

After the March demolition, Section 144 was also imposed in the area, restricting the movement of workers. Leaders like AITUC State President Munin Mohanta said the police force should be withdrawn from the plantations to end police torture.

For all this, workers announced a plan to hold a protest in Guwahati in the near future. Other leaders like Asom Sangrami Cha sramik Sangha President Vivek Das, AICCTU State President Biren Kalita and AIUTUC leaders Pramod Bhagwati, TUCC leader among others also attended the event.

Prominent intellectual Apurba Bara's written statement was read in the meeting.

Related:

Assam: Tension builds at Doloo, leaders called in for questioning

AMSU leader Dharitri Sarma released!

AMSU’s Mrinal Shome released, but another leader detained

Doloo estate trade union leader detained!

Assam: Doloo Tea Estate workers out on streets in protest

India’s tribal groups demand justice for Assam's tea estate workers

Doloo tea estate workers protest Greenfield Airport project

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LHMC’s sanitation workers detained for asserting rights

While the hospital disregards court orders, protesters are detained for lack of permission for protesting

08 Jun 2022

sanitation workers

Delhi’s Mandir Marg police station on June 7, 2022 detained Lady Hardinge’s Medical College’s (LHMC) 50 sanitation workers amidst protests decrying their illegal termination. The All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) condemned the police for manhandling workers and their family members.

On Tuesday, workers headed towards the LHMC building to speak to the management about the sudden firing of some sanitation workers. As per a May 31 Delhi High Court order, the hospital is barred from terminating its employing who have been working there for the last 12 years. This order was in relation to workers’ demand for minimum wages amounting to around ₹ 7,000, including Kalawati Saran Children hospital staffers.

However, police officials kept the workers’ group from entering the building. According to AICCTU Delhi Secretary Surya Prakash, workers then proceeded to protest outside the building but were detained by the police due to “lack of permission”. Videos of the incident show Prakash talking to ASI Chadrahas.

sanitation workers

sanitation workers

sanitation workers

sanitation workers

“It was only around June 1, 2021 that minimum wages were implemented for the workers. Every time there is a new contractor, workers lose their jobs. Now this has happened despite pending arrears worth ₹ 1.67 cr,” said Prakash.

The trade union leader explained that this calculated number relates to only 22 workers. Around 325 more workers are waiting for their case to be filed.

As per the Delhi court order, “In case the respondents [LHMC authorities] engage any new contractor for the same work(s) which the petitioners [sanitation workers] have been performing for the last many years, the respondents will direct the said contractor to engage the petitioners on the same terms and conditions as existing today without demanding any commission or premium from them for such engagement.”

The order may be read here:

Instead, one worker Afsana accused the police of manhandling on Tuesday. Protesters condemned the hospital for blatantly ignoring court directions. Prakash said it was unfortunate that such an incident occurred nearly a kilometre from the Labour Ministry office.

Related:

Stop Killing Us: Sanitation workers
Manual scavengers: Abandoned by state, derided by society
Manual scavenger deaths: Did Centre misrepresent death data in Parliament?
Gujarat: 12 sanitation workers dead, but no compensation?

LHMC’s sanitation workers detained for asserting rights

While the hospital disregards court orders, protesters are detained for lack of permission for protesting

sanitation workers

Delhi’s Mandir Marg police station on June 7, 2022 detained Lady Hardinge’s Medical College’s (LHMC) 50 sanitation workers amidst protests decrying their illegal termination. The All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) condemned the police for manhandling workers and their family members.

On Tuesday, workers headed towards the LHMC building to speak to the management about the sudden firing of some sanitation workers. As per a May 31 Delhi High Court order, the hospital is barred from terminating its employing who have been working there for the last 12 years. This order was in relation to workers’ demand for minimum wages amounting to around ₹ 7,000, including Kalawati Saran Children hospital staffers.

However, police officials kept the workers’ group from entering the building. According to AICCTU Delhi Secretary Surya Prakash, workers then proceeded to protest outside the building but were detained by the police due to “lack of permission”. Videos of the incident show Prakash talking to ASI Chadrahas.

sanitation workers

sanitation workers

sanitation workers

sanitation workers

“It was only around June 1, 2021 that minimum wages were implemented for the workers. Every time there is a new contractor, workers lose their jobs. Now this has happened despite pending arrears worth ₹ 1.67 cr,” said Prakash.

The trade union leader explained that this calculated number relates to only 22 workers. Around 325 more workers are waiting for their case to be filed.

As per the Delhi court order, “In case the respondents [LHMC authorities] engage any new contractor for the same work(s) which the petitioners [sanitation workers] have been performing for the last many years, the respondents will direct the said contractor to engage the petitioners on the same terms and conditions as existing today without demanding any commission or premium from them for such engagement.”

The order may be read here:

Instead, one worker Afsana accused the police of manhandling on Tuesday. Protesters condemned the hospital for blatantly ignoring court directions. Prakash said it was unfortunate that such an incident occurred nearly a kilometre from the Labour Ministry office.

Related:

Stop Killing Us: Sanitation workers
Manual scavengers: Abandoned by state, derided by society
Manual scavenger deaths: Did Centre misrepresent death data in Parliament?
Gujarat: 12 sanitation workers dead, but no compensation?

Related Articles


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