A total of 121 Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) cadre were removed from the Railway Junction here on Sunday after they attempted to stage a rail roko against manual scavenging.

Speaking to reporters, TPDK general secretary K. Ramakrishnan said that more than 25,000 manual scavengers were facing serious health problems every year due to breathing toxic fumes.

Those engaging manual scavengers should be prosecuted under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. There were more 16 lakh manual scavengers across India. Many of them, he claimed, have been employed by the railways, civic bodies like Corporation and Municipalities and even by the army.

These institutions must be made to adopt machines for cleaning toilets, he added.

Mr. Ramakrishnan called for enforcement of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, with required improvements for the current period.

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