This new project is aimed at bringing about a social change

Actors Sathyaraj Vivek and other celebrities joins hands to end a dirty practice
news Manual scavenging Monday, June 26, 2017 - 08:00

Veteran actor Sathyaraj, comedian Vivek and filmmaker Vetrimaran have all joined hands for a new project. Except, this new venture is not aimed at a commercial blockbuster. Instead, it seeks to address an issue that continues to contaminate our society and soil our claims of development - Manual scavenging.

In collaboration with Jay Bhim Mandram, an organisation against caste discrimination, several actors, directors and activists have taken to social media, to spread awareness on the evils of manual scavenging. The videos have all been put up on the organisation's Facebook page and emphasise on how this particular occupation continues to thrive despite being banned. In March 2014, the Supreme Court ordered all states to abolish manual scavenging. Celebrities point out that this practice is deeply rooted in our caste system and demand that it be acted upon.

"All other countries have mechanised processes to clean sewers. Can we not find a machine to do the same?" asks actor Sathyaraj in the video. "We want members of a certain caste to do the cleaning for us. To get rid of manual scavenging, we need to get rid of caste," he adds.

Tamil Nadu, which is considered to be one of the most urbanised states in the country with its vast network of underground drainage and septic tanks has witnessed a significant number of deaths of manual scavengers. In April, a manual scavenger died due to asphyxiation while attempting to rescue a co-worker trapped inside a sewage pipeline in Mogappair East. Just a month before that, three men died while cleaning an underground sewage tank in Cuddalore.

"These men get completely drunk before entering the manhole. In a way, we are also forcing them to drink. We have decided by ourselves that a certain community will do this job and continued the practice. We must end manual scavenging.” Vivek, actor.

“No other country allows man to clean another man's excreta. This is a caste based practice. The Indian government claims that manual scavenging is no longer prevalent but a walk down the road will expose who is cleaning the manholes.” Ram, Director

“Why does this practice continue? The law does not allow manual scavenging. But it still exists. We must put an end to this.” Vettrimaran Director

Jay Bhim Manram which is now actively campaigning against the practice, plans to showcase a play on June 30 to spread awareness on the issue. "We have invited all political parties to the play. The general public is also invited," says Jeya Rani, a Coordinator at Jay Bhim Mandram. The play will be based on a well-researched novel named Thavirkapattavargal, which is on manual scavenging. It will be presented at Kamarajar Arangam from 5 pm. "Our campaign is called Annhilation of Caste system and Manual Scavenging," she adds.

At the venue, signatures of those present will be collected against the practice and submitted to the Government as a petition. 

 

“No other country allows man to clean another man's excreta. This is a caste based practice. The Indian government claims that manual scavenging is no longer prevalent but a walk down the road will expose who is cleaning the manholes.” Ram, Director

 

“Why does this practice continue? The law does not allow manual scavenging. But it still exists. We must put an end to this.” Vettrimaran Director

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