The Mulky police have arrested the owner of the hotel where a 45-year-old man died while cleaning a septic tank in a hotel on Sunday evening.

Eye witnesses said he slipped into the tank while cleaning it. Manual scavenging is prohibited by law.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Puttamadaiah said Vincent Saldanha, owner of the Abhinandana Hotel in Kinnigoli, had been accused under Section 304 (A) (death due to negligence) of the Indian Penal Code and under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Prohibition of Manual Scavenging Act.

Mr. Saldanha had been remanded in judicial custody and he would be produced before the jurisdictional magistrate court on Wednesday, Mr. Puttamadaiah said.

The 45-year-old Kitta Koraga and Sudhakar were hired for cleaning the septic tank of the hotel on Sunday evening. According to eyewitness accounts, Kitta slipped and fell into the 12-foot tank. The Fire and Emergency Services personnel were called to pull out Kitta Koraga. The personnel who came to the spot said they were not in a position to bring Kitta out.

Then the hotel staff and other members of Koraga community started to physically remove the waste water from the tank. Around 5 a.m. on Monday, Sunder entered the tank and removed the body of Kitta Koraga.

On Tuesday, Minister for Social Welfare A. Narayaswamy directed Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda and other officials to visit the spot.

Mr. Narayanaswamy, who was here to attend a function to release a book on B.R. Ambedkar, said compensation of Rs. 1 lakh would be immediately paid while another Rs. 1 lakh would be given to the family of Kitta Koraga shortly.

Mr. Narayanaswamy said there manual scavenging had been banned in the State. No government departments resorted to manual scavenging. The Government had provided machines to municipal councils which could be used by paying nominal fees. “Those going for manual scavenging are being dealt with and are now behind bars.” Mr. Narayaswamy said the Social Welfare Department would be creating awareness about the ban on manual scavenging.

Commissioner of Police Seemant Kumar Singh said he had called for a meeting on November 10 of officials from the revenue, zilla panchayat, and police's Civil Rights Enforcement Wing. They would be discussing steps needed to be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents and about the penal provisions that would make people desist from manual scavenging. “Employing people for scavenging is a serious offence,” he said.

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