The 45-year-old Anthaiah and 25-year-old Shiva were forced to clean a flood pipeline by entering a manhole, in Hyderabad’s LB Nagar, where they asphyxiated to death.

An earthmover digging in the manhole
news Death Monday, August 09, 2021 - 15:26

Six days after the death of two Dalit men due to asphyxiation while manually cleaning a flood pipeline in Hyderabad, the body of one of the men has been found. The body of 45-year-old Anthaiah, who was one of the men forced to clean a flood pipeline by entering a manhole in Padmavathi Colony in LB Nagar area of Hyderabad, was found on Monday, August 9, in another manhole. Anthaiah and Shiva (25) had died of asphyxiation when they were forced to engage in manual scavenging on August 3. Shiva's body was found on the day the incident took place.

LB Nagar MLA D Sudheer Reddy said Anthaiah’s body has been recovered and has been sent for a post mortem. “All these days, we have been continuing our search for the body. With the help of Bengaluru-based Ajantha techno solutions, we have been able to find the body. The body will now be sent for a post-mortem,” he told reporters.

Speaking to a local media channel, Anthaiah's wife said, "We have been given Rs 15 lakh as compensation. Rs 10 lakh from the government and Rs 5 lakh from the contractor. All these days, all party representatives asked me what I need, and in reply, all I asked for is my husband's body to be given to me.” She has asked the state to provide a government job for her son, Nagaraju. “My son needs to be given a job. I don't have a house in the village nor do I have a house here. All I am asking for is a job for my son and a double bedroom house,” she said.

Speaking to TNM, Pruthvi, a friend of Anthaiah’s son Nagaraju, said, "The body has been recovered. Nagaraju and his family are protesting at the site. They are demanding a 2BHK house and a job for Nagaraju. Now that his father is no more, the responsibility of the family lies on him. He needs to be given a job."

The ruling TRS and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) have come under attack over the death of the two Dalit men. Engaging or employing, either directly or indirectly, a manual scavenger is a punishable offence in India. Anthaiah’s family, who had been protesting against authorities, had alleged negligence by the officials of GHMC, as LB Nagar falls under the jurisdiction of the civic body.

However, earlier, GHMC authorities had denied any role in the death of the two men and blamed the contractor for forcing the two Dalit men down the manhole.

GHMC said that B Yelliah, the contractor, worked against the prescribed rules of sanitation, which do not allow any cleaning works to be carried out after 6 pm. The GHMC said that the contractor did not notify them about the desilting works.

After the news of the death of the two men, the police had filed a case against the contractor,  B Yelliah, under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Telangana government had introduced ‘mini sewer jetting machines’ in 2017 in a bid to end manual scavenging. When asked if the zone had adequate jetting machines, A Maruthi Diwakar, GHMC Deputy Commissioner LB Nagar zone, had pushed the blame on the contractor. “We have four mini sewer jetting machines in the zone. Additionally, there was another huge machine that would replace manual scavenging, but we do not know why the contractor made the persons get into the manhole. We will know the reason only after summoning him,” he had said.

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