Liberated conservancy workers visit parliament, meet Speaker

Over 300 women, who used to work as scavengers in various towns of Rajasthan and were liberated and rehabilitated by NGO Sulabh International, visited the Parliament House complex on Tuesday and witnessed the proceedings of the Lok Sabha from the visitors' gallery.

They also met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and shared their experiences.

Terming the visit of emancipated women scavengers to Parliament as “historic,” Ms. Kumar said: “Such events not only further strengthens our democracy, it also make our society more inclusive.”

She urged people to wage war against all kinds of social evils and work towards removing the problem of scavenging.

Expressing grave concern over the age-old practice of manual scavenging, the Speaker hoped that government policies and work of organisations such as Sulabh International would help in eradicating this evil.

Describing the caste system as the greatest tragedy to befall the human race, Ms. Kumar said even the poor had a right to live with self-respect.

Appreciating the efforts of Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak for bringing about a change in the lives of so women scavengers, she said such efforts reaffirmed her faith in humanity.

Dr. Pathak said the visit of liberated scavengers to the Parliament House was a great victory over the centuries-old practice of untouchability.

“The problem of scavenging is not entirely about water and sanitation. It is a special problem which calls for special solutions. We are committed to working towards removing this social evil from India,” Dr. Pathak added.

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