I, a “Bhangi,” have always wondered what the Constitution and Independence have given me and others like me — except a broom in one hand and night soil on the head (“Burying democracy in human waste,” Jan. 8).
I was present at the function in which Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, apologised to the nation on the issue of manual scavenging. Don’t apologise, give the sweepers and scavengers their due share in development; give them equal opportunities and their share in reservation. Ask the affluent SCs and the STs to give up the benefits of reservation and allow the neglected sections to enjoy them.
It is depressing to learn that even after 65 years of independence, the government has failed to eliminate manual scavenging. I was shocked to see the plight of those engaged in the menial task in a documentary. Manual scavenging leads to untouchability which hinders the growth of the already marginalised section. What is the use of plans and promises, when some of our citizens are denied the right to live with dignity?
Keywords: manual scavenging