Bengaluru, February 24: In a tragic incident, a 37-year-old sweeper in Karnataka's Maddur died by suicide by hanging himself on Tuesday. As per reports, the deceased identified as Narayana was under great mental trauma ever since he was allegedly forced to clean a manhole with with bare hands without any safety gear in November last year. Following the media scrutiny of the incident, the municipal corporation officials had said that the deceased went in the manhole voluntarily and was not forced.
However, in the suicide note, Narayana has blamed the several top ranking officials in Municipality, including CMC President Sureshkumar, chief officer Murugesh and health inspector Ghasim Khan, forced him to take up the responsibility of the incident, following his refusal to do so his pay was withheld and he was suspended. After the post morterm, his body was taken to the city municipal council office where sweepers protested over the harassment by the officials, reported the Times of India. Manual Scavenging In Tamil Nadu: 6 Sanitation Workers Killed in Sriperumbudur After Inhaling Methane Gas While Cleaning Septic Tank.
The Karnataka Labour Union has called on a strike on February 26 to protest against the officials involved in Naryana's alleged harassment, demanding action against them. “If police don’t conduct proper investigation, we may be forced to go on an indefinite strike. The authorities concerned should be held responsible,” Nagannagowda, President of Labour Union told the Times of India. Many States Make 'tall Claims' on Zero Manual Scavengers: NHRC Workshop.
Following the incident, the Maddur police have filed a case against the officials under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and for abetment of suicide. The investigation is underway.