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Even after 75 years of independence, manual scavenging in the country continues unabated. The stigma attached to the Dalit community for cleaning sewers still remains.
Union minister of state for social justice, Ramdas Athawale, has said that there has not been a single death due to manual scavenging in the last five years. However, according to Safai Karamchari Andolan’s (SKA) convener, Bezwada Wilson, 535 people have lost their lives in the last five years due to manual scavenging.
The SKA is leading a movement to highlight the deaths of those involved in manual scavenging and cleaning sewers. Here’s a ground report by The Wire’s Atul Ashok Howale, who spoke to sewage workers and Wilson about the movement.