Despite two days of extensive search, the body of 45-year-old Anthaiah, one of the deceased, who suffocated to death in a manhole on Tuesday night in Hyderabadâ€™s LB Nagar, is yet to be found. Initially, officials had suspected that the body would be struck in a nearby manhole and dug up the pipeline using earthmovers. However, as they could not find the body, on Thursday, August 5, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) officials searched a nearby lake with three boats hoping to fish out the body. But their efforts remained futile.
Meanwhile, Anthaiah's son Nagaraju accused that officials were inefficient and showing apathy. Speaking to TNM, he said, â€śWe are very disappointed with the officials and the politicians. Only when some political leader pays a visit, the officials act as if they have been working very hard, but they are not making proper efforts to retrieve my fatherâ€™s body. They are extremely negligent.â€ť
Nagaraju alleged that the officials are acting indifferently solely because of their caste identity. â€śSince they know that we are from a marginalized community, they think that they can behave like this. No official or police have made any effort to reach out to us, to explain the situation and console us,â€ť Nagaraju alleged. The family belongs to the Mala community, categorised as Scheduled Caste.
Anthaiah and his colleague Shiva (25) -- both Dalits -- died of asphyxiation on Tuesday night when they were made to manually clean a flood pipeline in Padmavathi Colony, an act against the law. Engaging or employing, either directly or indirectly, a manual scavenger is a punishable offense under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
The contractor, B Yellaiah, who hired the duo, was booked under sections of 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. Though machines have replaced human intervention, Shiva was made to get into the manhole using a ladder. However, when Shiva started suffocating, the contractor called Anthaiah who was working near another manhole. Anthaiah got down the manhole and was able to push Shiva out, but he too fell sick and collapsed inside.
Nagaraju also said that no official has called on the family to discuss the case details and make any assurance about the compensation.