In yet another case of apathy towards civic workers in Bengaluru, two pourakarmikas were allegedly assaulted by a supervisor and a contractor for demanding their pending wages.
Anjanamma (40) and Shivamma (46) were allegedly assaulted by the supervisor Ranganatha and contractor Sunil and the contractor at Chokkasandra ward in north Bengaluru. The assault occurred when Anjanamma, a BBMP worker for 20 years, requested Ranganatha to pay her the previous month’s salary.
Anjanamma told The News Minute, “Sunil told Ranganatha to hit me, but I moved to the side, and another person (Shivamma) who was with me got injured. Then they hit me also, and said that they did not want the two of us to work there anymore.”
Anjanamma said that the delay in her salary was not an isolated instance, but had come on the back of a series of delays. "I just went to ask for my salary for last month. The BBMP owed us money because a lot of arrears were pending. In February, after many of us had protested, they paid our salaries till that month."
She added: "However, again we didn't get our salaries for March. We waited one month and asked again in April, and even then we get treated like this. The contractor Sunil and supervisor Ranganatha started abusing me. They said that I was getting too much 'attitude' for my own good."
According to reports, Sunil and Ranganatha then went to the police before Anjanamma and Shivamma could lodge a complaint, and tried to convince them that they had been assaulted by the two women with brooms when they were asked to do their work.
However, the police lodged a complaint against Ranganatha and Sunil under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC and the SC&ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The supervisor has been taken into police custody, while the contractor is reportedly absconding.
Anjanamma said that she never expected to be treated in such a manner after 20 years of service. “"I joined the BBMP when I was 20 years old and I'm almost 40 now. During this entire time, such an incident has never happened to me. It is tough for me. How can they just kick workers out? Where will they go? What will they do?"
Anjanamma added that there was a much larger problem of ill-treatment of pourakarmikas. “This is just one case, because I made the decision to go public. There are so many cases like this out there” she said.
“Contractors and supervisors don’t treat the workers properly at all. Already we are dealing with waste, and these people treat us also like waste. If you go and talk to pourakarmikas, many of them will tell you similar stories of assault or harassment,” she added.