India toilet cleaners stage protest over conditions


Test Captain
Jan 2, 2010
Hundreds of Indian workers employed to manually clean non-flush toilets have protested in Delhi against their working conditions.

They say that the authorities have failed to act despite declaring such work illegal, and should issue an apology for decades of discrimination.

Government figures suggest that about 300,000 low-caste Dalits are still employed in such work.

They are estimated on average to earn less than $4 (£2.50) a month.

The demonstrators began their protests a month ago by criss-crossing the country to highlight their demands.

Manual "scavenging" - removing human excreta from dry or non-flush toilets - is a centuries-old practice in India.

It is mainly carried out by the Dalits, formerly known as the untouchables, who are at the lowest rung of the Hindu caste system.

They go from house to house every morning to collect night soil, a euphemism for human faeces.

Although manual scavenging is prohibited by law, some government departments still have such workers. These include the railways ministry, which employs people to clean railway tracks as most trains have open-discharge toilets.

Government figures show there are more than 300,000 manual scavengers in India, but unofficial estimates put the number at more than one million.

The organisers of the protest say they want the government to completely eradicate the practice and rehabilitate those engaged in it.

They say that there will be a countrywide protest from November if the government fails to meet their demands.

I feel sorry for these people, they are humans and should be treated as such.
it must be tough for them trying to clean the whole country. And when you consider that muslims are apparently lower than dalits in india, it makes you wonder. Sickening.
I agree with them. The century old practice needs to be stopped.

If the normal houses and offices can adopt to new sewage system why can't the railways ?
Now even they can't complain about unavailability of funds. The railways in India needs modernization.
Some Tamil television channels aired visuals purportedly showing a girl in uniform scrubbing a toilet floor with what appeared to be small piece of cloth.

Some students of a government girls higher secondary school in Tamil Nadu were allegedly asked to clean toilets by a teacher prompting authorities to order an inquiry on Tuesday, an official said.

The alleged incident happened at the RM Jain Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Tiruvallur which has about 1,000 students studying from classes six to 12.

How is forcing a girl to clean toilets helping her with her education?