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News Entry# 288976
Dec 18 2016 (11:20)  ‘Why not a demonetisation-like attack on manual scavenging?’ (
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Commentary/Human Interest

News Entry# 288976     
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Posted by: rdb*^  133024 news posts
“The Prime Minister, on November 8 at 8 p.m., announced demonetisation and said that from midnight higher denomination notes will no longer be valid. If Narendra Modi is really committed to Swachh Bharat, why can’t he make a similar announcement saying manual scavenging will stop from midnight?,” Bezwada Wilson, recent Ramon Magsasay award winner and leading activist of the Safai Karamchari movement, said today.
“When we met parliamentarians, they had one question: If you people don’t do it, then how will it be cleaned? That has been the attitude of our political rulers which has ensured that the system still stays,” Mr. Wilson said at the Bangalore Literature Fest.
Modi often speaks of Swachh Bharat, but what we need to cleanse is our collective psyche which has allowed the inhuman practice of manual scavenging,” he said adding that issues like smart cities served only as a diversion tactic, when none of our cities had a full drainage coverage. “Indian Railways is one of the biggest employers of manual scavengers. Since 2003 the implementation of ecotoilets in 1.76 lakh train coaches has been slogging. The Railway Minister year on year shamelessly announces that this year 500 coaches will be converted,” he rued.
“The internalisation of caste has gone so deep that when I question my people why they are doing this humiliating job, they just say they were doing their job. How can it be the job of human beings to clean the excreta of other humans?,” he lamented, adding that he was moved to tears when the Magsasay award was announced in July this year. “Even today 1.6 lakh dalit women are cleaning human excreta everyday, earning a maximum of Rs. 600 a month. How can we celebrate?”
Mr. Wilson made stinging comments on the recent Supreme Court ruling on the national anthem in film theatres. “As a society we need to move away from such nationalism,” he said.
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