BENGALURU: Though about 60 manual scavengers have died in Karnataka in the last two decades, none of the cases have resulted in conviction. The police have now decided to look into this and also the under-reporting of deaths of sanitation workers.
DG & IGP Roop Kumar Dutta said, “We will study the investigations that have been carried out in these cases and will also look into the court proceedings.”
Professor Y J Rajendra, president of People’s Union of Civil Liberties, said, “Along with corruption, there is also a cultural bias in dealing with cases of deaths of manual scavengers. The cases are not booked under provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. Even in the C V Raman Nagar incident where three people died, police have filed the case under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).”
Karnataka State Safai Karamchari Commission chairman Venkatesh M R said, “The families of the deceased usually do not stay back in Karnataka to follow up on the case. There’s no one to take up their cause, but there are many who bring pressure to prevent the arrest of officials who are responsible.”
“It has come to the notice of the Commission that in many cases, police have filed B-reports (no sufficient evidence to prove the charges). We have now written to the police to give information about specific cases. If necessary, we will reopen the cases and hire some criminal lawyers,” he said.
Shivanna M, former chairperson, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, said, “One conviction in any of the manual scavenging death cases would have sent a strong message to society. But due to deliberate procedural lapses by police, it has led to zero conviction.”