--- In ZESTCaste@yahoogroups.com, "chandrakanth_patthi"
> Former manual scavengers demand apology from governmentVidya
> The capital's Constitution Club resounded on Monday to cries of
> âJai Bhimâ as a huge gathering of former manual
> rose as one to demand an apology from the government for the wrongs
> to the community. âApologise now for the violation of our
> dignity,â they said.
> The choice of venue, with portraits of Babasaheb Ambedkar forming the
> backdrop, was perhaps intendedly ironic. It was to remind the country
> its failure to redeem its pledge towards the most wretched of its
> citizens â" the Scheduled Castes, and among them, those condemned
> to the obnoxious practice of manual scavenging. Sixty years after the
> Constitution abolished untouchability and decreed all citizens to be
> equal and free, one section continued to be subjected to the most
> abhorrent of all human rights violations.
> Expectedly the audience roared in approval, each time a liberated
> âsafai karamchariâ narrated her personal story of
> sufferings and vowed never again to go back to âthat life of
> shame and indignity.â The speeches were punctuated by shouts of
> sukhi roti khayenge, maila nahi uthayenge (it does not matter if we
> nothing to eat, we will not do manual scavenging) and
> apologise.â Each speaker spoke in her native tongue but the
> accounts of pain and humiliation were similar.
> Anita, a former manual scavenger from Uttar Pradesh, said she and her
> mother worked long hours, often without water, because they were
> outcasts who could not touch any utensils. Anita wanted to know if
> had really gained Independence. âI will celebrate Independence
> Day when we are treated as equals.â Saroj from Haryana spoke of
> people covering their noses and waving her away in disgust. Anita from
> Punjab said she once slipped and fell while in an advanced stage of
> pregnancy. As no one gave her a hand, she lay covered in excreta.
> The star of the day was the spit-fire Umayal from Tamil Nadu.
> her school days, she said she used to be made to stand in a corner and
> was ordered to bring her own plate because her mother cleaned human
> excreta. âThis is happening even today. I want to ask the
> government: You spend so much money on advertising on TV. Why can't
> use some of it to spread awareness about us? Why can't my children
> study? Why can't they become Collectors? Why not? Why not?â The
> tearful Umayal was led away to screams of âapologise,
> apologiseâ from the audience.
> Social activist Aruna Roy asked for reservation for the community, not
> in sweeper categories, but in higher education and in the higher
> Communist Party of India general secretary D. Raja said the clean-up
> should begin from the Railways which was the largest employer of
> scavengers. âIf this is not a national shame, what is,â
> asked, wondering at the paradox of a government willing to spend
> Rs.70,000 crore on the Commonwealth Games but not mustering the will
> uplift the manual scavenging community.
> The Safai Karmachari Andolan has demanded a comprehensive
> package, including stringent punishment to those found to be employing
> manual scavengers in violation of the Manual Scavengers and Dry
> Construction (Prohibition) Act, 1993.
>I congratulate the step taken by scavenging workers at delhi. It is
shameful that the governments in independent India bother least to see
how untouchability is still in practice. Governments are under the grip
of those forces who do not want untouchability or caste discrimnation
should go. The governing class is still the upper caste who bother not
for bringing social equality. the governments are not for annihilation
of caste & untouchability. The scavenging community is the worst suffere
of untouchability in India. No where in the world such an inhuman
treatment is meted to thed working class. This is Indian racism -
casteism. Prime need is to fight it by all the sufferers. There is need
to change the governing culture and by changing govrning class & not
only ruling class. Govrning class as defined by Dr Ambedkar in his
treatise "What Congress and Gandhi have Done to the untouchables". and
also waging the struggle to annihilate the caste system.
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