World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


INDIA: National shame

INDIA: National shame

The Supreme Court of India and its subordinate courts have, over the past six decades, issued more than a dozen directives and orders prohibiting the practice of manual scavenging in India. The evil practice, of literally carrying human faeces or cleaning the same from public toilets, is widespread in the country. In most cases the work is carried out or contracted to the lowest caste communities. The most recent related judicial intervention, an order issued yesterday by a division bench of the Maharashtra High Court, directs the state government to end the practice.

The court said: "ow can you justify employing human beings to carryout manual scavenging in this day and age? Asking human beings to clean human waste is a violation of basic fundamental rights. This will shock the conscience of anyone." The court further directed the government to immediately release Rs. 5 crore so that mobile toilets are made available to the public.

The practice of manual scavenging is India's national shame. Both the state and private individuals employ manual scavengers. There are a series of legislations that prohibit the practice; none are implemented. The Indian Railways is the single largest employer of manual scavengers. Every railway station in the country has manual scavengers employed and they clean up human faeces from railway tracks in stations with nothing more than a broom and a cane basket. Despite the facts being brought to the attention of the Supreme Court, and the Railways first denying and later admitting their guilt, and the Court directing the Railways to end the practice, the evil continues. Indian Railways still uses pit latrine like closets that discharge human excreta straight on to the tracks. In this sense, each station in the country is also a big public toilet.

India lacks neither the technical knowhow nor the resources needed to reduce human physical labour for the cleaning of public toilets. It is the South Asian mindset that completely disregards human dignity for the poor and the practice of caste that contributes to the upkeep of such practices. Manual scavenging is amongst the worst forms of continuing caste related discrimination and inhumanity.

Social transformation and engineering for the betterment of society is only possible in a country where normative standards of equality before law, human dignity, and justice are held at high levels. In India, such norms do not exist. And, law enforcement agencies are ill-equipped and inept in discharging duties. Therefore, punitive legislations intended to force social reforms have failed.

Considering that it has been over six decades since 'independence', the Indian state has displayed dishonesty by continuing to mouth a desire to end manual scavenging.

Given this history, the latest order issued by the High Court is sheer madness; repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result reflects nothing if not institutionalized insanity.

# # #

For further information, in Hong Kong: Bijo Francis, india@ahrc.asia

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.


Visit our new website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news