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Dalits and Adivasis

Dalit Sanitation Worker Dies in Varanasi After Being Exposed to Poisonous Gases

In Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi district, a sanitation worker from the Dalit community lost his life after reportedly being exposed to poisonous gases while cleaning a sewer. The incident took place at Bhaisapur Ghat in Adampura village.

According to reports, Ram Babu, another sanitation worker, explained that there was a complaint regarding a sewerage blockade in front of the Ravidas temple at Rajghat. In response, Ghurelal, aged 40, and Sunil from the Machhodari area were called to clean the sewerage. Both workers descended into the manhole using a rope.

However, Ghurelal stopped responding after a while, prompting Sunil to emerge from the manhole and raise an alarm about poisonous gas. Despite the efforts of their supervisor, Babu Yadav, who fled the scene, and the subsequent arrival of the Rajghat police and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Ghurelal could not be saved. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital.

Ghurelal, survived by his wife and three children, had been working as a sanitation worker for over 15 years, earning a monthly salary of Rs 12,000.

The incident sheds light on the dangers faced by sanitation workers, particularly those involved in manual scavenging, despite efforts to eradicate the practice. Last year, the Supreme Court directed the Union and state governments to take measures to eliminate manual scavenging and issued guidelines to protect sanitation workers. Additionally, the court ordered compensation of Rs 30 lakhs to be provided to the families of victims of such incidents.

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