Dalit man asphyxiated to death in TN, activists to take legal action

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Chennai, Feb 9 (IANS) Dalit activists have taken up the case of a 37-year-old Dalit man being asphyxiated to death while cleaning a septic tank in an apartment building at Kannabiraman street in Coimbatore.

Activist and leader of Dalit rights movement Meenakumari Sunil told IANS that manual scavenging is against the law.

“It is against law and we will take those who engaged the man for manual scavenging to the court,” Meenakumari said.

Mohanasundaralingam (37) was engaged in cleaning the sewage tank of an apartment in Kannabiraman Mill road near Sowripalayam in Coimbatore on Thursday.

While Mohanasundarlingam was supervising the cleaning, two of his accomplices, Raju and Guna went inside the sewage. Ramu fell inside the sewage tank and Mohanasundarlingam also entered the tank to save Ramu; while Ramu was pulled out to safety, Mohanasundarlingam collapsed and was immediately taken to the local hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Mohansundaralingam hails from Thiagi village in Ramanathapuram and the Dalit organisations in the area took up the cause of his death.

Meenakumari said that manual cleaning was abolished by law long back and added that those engaging people for this inhuman act must be brought to book.

She said that the activists including a group of advocates have met the family members of the deceased Mohanasundaralingam at Coimbatore General Hospital where his postmortem will be conducted on Friday and assured them that they would take legal recourse and stand with the family of the deceased person.

The Dalit rights activist told IANS that as per the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavangers and their Rehabilitation Act and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, those who have engaged the deceased and his accomplices for manual scavenging will face stringent legal action.



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