Discrimination impedes justice for India's manual scavengers

Although more than 400 have died in the last five years, not a single conviction has been made due to caste prejudice
Discrimination impedes justice for India's manual scavengers

Lakshmi, a manual scavenger from Uttar Pradesh in India, says they find it hard to make ends meet and are exposed to serious health hazards. (UCA News photo) 

Church leaders and social activists in India have decried discrimination against Dalits and poor people after federal government statistics tabled in parliament revealed that more than 400 manual scavengers have died during the last five years but not a single conviction has been made.

Over 400 people from marginalized communities have lost their lives cleaning sewers without proper equipment or safety gear since 2014 but governments and police across the country have not been able to send a single person to jail under a law that prohibits engaging people for such work.

Records placed before parliament by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment state that there has been no reported conviction under the 2013 Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act.

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