Districts/Places covered: Amritsar
Civil Society and Press Meet at Delhi
Today, the 100th day of the BhimYatra we held two meetings in Amritsar. Both in Guala Mandi but at different places. First meeting was at 2 o’clock after lunch and other meeting in the night after dinner at 9.30 pm. Lunch, dinner and teas were organized by the Guruduara lungar (food) committee. Many people came for both meetings. In both of these meetings pamphlets was distributed to everyone and also read in Hindi and Punjabi. We told people about Bhim yatra and its demand to mechanize cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. People were also told about Supreme Court judgment of 2014 which provides 10 lakhs rupees to dependents of persons who have died in sewers/septic tanks and 40,000/- rupees which is provided as one time cash assistance to manual scavengers, for 4 -6 months sustenance till they find dignified alternate occupations. We also spoke about Baba Saheb Ambedkar and his work for the Dalits and all poor and excluded. We reiterated that we must follow his given path for our socio-economic and politico-cultural development. At both meetings the people assured that they would come to Delhi on 13th April on the last day of Bhim Yatra to show their support to Bhim Yatra and strength of Dalit community. We stayed the night at Balmiki Dharmshala in Guala Mandi.
While Bhim Yatra was moving, meeting and mobilizing community people, and raising awareness on Bhim yatra in Punjab, in Delhi a civil society and press meet was organised. Civil society members led by Justice A.P. Shah addressed media to express their anguish on continued social as well as political apathy towards issue of manual scavenging. Justice Shah questioned that why people are still killed and why not a part of ‘swachh bharat’ scheme of government is earmarked for eradication of manual scavenging and rehabilitation of manual scavengers.
(MP) D. Raja said that this issue has to be raised politically as well to ensure that no person dies in sewage pit anymore. This atrocious inhuman practice must be eradicated.
JD (U) MP K.C. Tyagi said that when functioning of parliament is stalled on various issues, why not it be so for a day to demand the eradication of manual scavenging.
CPI Jurist Usha raised that why rest of the civil society has not raised the issue of manual scavenging and so far this responsibility has been left on the community.
Dr.N.Paul Diwakar said that the victory of Bhim yatra is that first time large no. of civil society is join hands to take the issue forward.
Dr.Vimal Thorat spoke that SKA is taking a mammoth work to make these killing a National issue and Ms. Bhasha Singh also spoke in solidarity.
Safai Karmachari Andolan,
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