Hundreds of members of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) seeking abolition of manual scavenging were arrested when they picketed the arterial Anna Salai on Tuesday.
Their demands included compensation for those died of asphyxiation in manholes, abolition of manual scavenging on the premises of railways and framing of rules under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
They also urged the government to put an end to the practice giving conservancy jobs to Dalits and other works to non-Dalits. “Dalits should also be appointed as drivers and assistants in offices,” they said.
CPI (M) MP T.K. Rangarajan, who addressed the protesters, said death due to asphyxiation in manholes continued in many part of Tamil Nadu, though there was a court direction against the practice of manual scavenging.
“Compensation has reached only one per cent of the families of the victims, while others have been left in the lurch,” he said and urged the Indian government to strictly implement the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
CPI (M) legislative party leader A. Soundararajan, party MLA Bheem Rao, TNUEF leaders P. Sampath and K. Samuel were among those who participated in the protest.