Manual Scavenging
The police said they have been arrested for causing death by negligence.

The police on Tuesday arrested 8 members of ND Sepal Apartment Association, in Somasandra Palya, Tuesday in connection with the death of three men while cleaning a manhole in the apartment complex.

“We have arrested 8 people from the apartment in connection with the incident for negligence. The contractor, who was also negligent in this case, died along with two others. The contractor was trying to clean the motor when the incident happened,” said Ramesh Kumar, Inspector at Bandepalya Police Station.

All 8 men arrested work as techies and businessmen in the city.

The contractor Narayana Swamy (35), Mahadeva Gowda (42) and Srinivas (52) died after they entered a manhole inside the premises of ND Sepal Apartments in Somasundara Palya in HSR Layout in a bid to manually clean.

Mahadeva Gowda passed away while being taken to Columbia Asia Hospital, while the bodies of Narayana Swamy and Srinivas were recovered by fire and emergency personnel from inside the manhole.

An FIR was registered at the Bandepalya Police Station under section 304A (causing death by negligence), read with section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

Initially, police officials were unsure of who they should be taking action against. 

"We have to see whether the residents gave consent to this and are exploring whether they can be charged. The investigation is on and we will know more soon," Ramesh Kumar had earlier said.

But pressure from human rights activists and lawyers following the incident appears to have forced the police’s hand.

Employing a manual scavenger has been made a cognisable offence with imprisonment and fine since 1993, and the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013 and a Supreme Court ruling state the same.

But the banned practice continues to flourish across the country as the ban has not been enforced properly by the government or private parties.