21-Jul-2010

Where Is The Shine Here?

From DH: Protesting Dalits smear themselves with human excreta.
For the past 70 years, four families of the Bhangi community, who work as night soil workers, have been living in huts built on land belonging to the Savanur Town Municipal Council (TMC).

At a meeting some time ago, the TMC decided to evict the families and build a commercial complex in its place. Ever since, the TMC has employed various devious ways to force the families out of their homes.

Starting with an oral directive, the TMC has resorted to cutting water connection to the families, dumping waste in front of their homes, barging into their homes, insulting their women and threatening them.

Instead of these devious ways, why not use the most straightfoward way to evict them: give them an alternative place to stay?  As the article asks: 

What can be said of a system that forces a community to inflict upon themselves the lowest form of humiliation, just so they are allowed to live in their own homes?

And the other question is: Why, when manual scavenging is constitutionally illegal in India, are people still being employed to do it?  Don't they deserve better?

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