Sources say agents of Ramky Enterprises entered Bowring Hospital impersonating activists, and tried to pay off the families of the victims.

Far from accountability contractor tries to settle Bengaluru manual scavenging deaths
news Human Rights Saturday, March 11, 2017 - 09:01

Three men were callously killed inside a manhole in Bengaluru on Tuesday, and before their families could even properly come to terms with the death of their loved ones, the contractors who were responsible for the safety of these men tried to ‘settle’ the deaths.

Sources have told TNM that when the families of Yerraiah, Anjaneya Reddy and Dhavathi Naidu were in Bowring Hospital to collect the bodies, agents of the contracting company, Ramky Enterprises, allegedly paid Rs 30,000 to each of the victim’s families, for last rites, and to allegedly buy their silence.

According to an official with the Social Welfare Department, the agents posed as members of a Dalit Morcha and entered Bowring Hospital on Wednesday.

“The information we have received is that the three men - Shrinivas, Devaraja and Prasanth - came to the mortuary at around 7pm on Wednesday, just before the family members left for their home towns,” the official said.

“One of the three men told the victims’ families that he was employed with Ramky and was unhappy with the work conditions. They were there to assess the situation and find out details about the victims’ family members,” the official added.

The Ramky agents had also scouted for information about the victims’ families from their colleagues, allegedly to pay them off.

“We know they wanted to pay off the families and silence them,” said Narsaiah*, a friend of the victims. “Anjeneyulu, the owner of the subcontracting firm, is still hiding. The police are also not taking this seriously and no arrests have been made yet,” he said.

However, Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials and the police said that they had no knowledge of the agents’ visit to the hospital.

Six days after the incident, no arrests have been made in the case. Anjeneyulu, the managing director of Anantharaja Constructions, is still absconding. Anantharaja Constructions is the company that was subcontracted by Ramky Enterprises, and it was this firm that sent Yerraiah, Anjaneya Reddy and Dhavathi Naidu to their deaths in the CV Raman Nagar manhole on Tuesday.

While the Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George had announced Rs 10 lakh compensation for the families of each of the victims, it isn’t clear if the families have got the money yet.

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