ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bhim Yatra

We, the safai karamcharis, are on the Bhim Yatra to tell the country and government to “Stop Killing Us!” through manual scavenging of dry latrines, sewers and septic tanks. The Bhim Yatra, in honour of B R Ambedkar, is travelling across the country for 125 days through 500 districts in 30 states from 10 December 2015 and will end in Delhi on 13 April 2016—the eve of the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar. We call on everyone to support our struggle to fulfil Babasaheb’s dream of achieving our right to life, liberty and equality.

From generation to generation, safai karamcharis have been forced to manually scavenge society’s human excreta from dry latrines, sewer lines and septic tanks. For decades, we have been telling this country and its government to stop the violence and discrimination against us. Our fundamental rights to life and dignity are being constantly violated with no regret or remorse. The 1993 manual scavenging prohibition law was never implemented and no convictions were made during the 20 years that it was in force. In 2013, Parliament passed the new Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act; in 2014 the Supreme Court passed judgment on our public interest litigation to prevent deaths in sewer lines and septic tanks and to compensate those who died since 1993. The government has made and remade laws and schemes. Time and again, deadlines and dates were set to end manual scavenging. Nothing changed. Manual scavenging, the manifestation of untouchability and caste oppression, shamelessly continues till date. Deaths continue to occur with alarming frequency. It is hypocritical that our politicians and parliamentarians miss no opportunity to praise Ambedkar, while they allow Dalits to die day after day in manholes, across the country. Bhim Yatra will place this shame before the public and hopes to stir the nation’s conscience.

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