10th December 2013: More than 750,000 men and women are still stuck in one of the most demeaning jobs ever forced on human beings. Their every day routine should embarrass us all because it is a continuous reminder of the cruel realities of Indian social life. On the occasion of Human rights day IBN-Lokmat tries to find out horrid realities of unhealthy and hateful task of human scavenging.

This vicious cycle is unending. These scavengers are rarely able to take up another profession due to prejudice related to their caste and professional status, and are as they are forced to remain scavengers. They are paid less than minimum wages and are often forced to borrow money from upper-caste neighbours in order to survive and consequently they end up maintaining the relationship of bondage.

Workers with bare minimum tools and enough hygiene care can still routinely be seen clambering into the stinky depths of septic tanks and sewers. Manual scavenging points to a lack of sufficient investment in modern sewerage systems by a government that struggles to provide basic services.

The Indian government had passed a law in 1993 that called for the demolition of all dry toilets as well as banning the use of human beings to carry excrement. The influential National Advisory Council headed had also called for the eradication of this practice, after a countrywide protest by Safai Karamchari Andolan, a labour union. But still this practice seems intensely deep-rooted in the Indian society.

Tune into Reportaaz ‘Narak Safai’, to understand grim realities of human scavengers on 10th December 2013, at 11:30 am & 8.30 pm only on IBN-Lokmat.