Three Dalit men involved in cleaning a septic tank at a private resort in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu’s Kancheepuram district died of asphyxiation last week.
The tragic deaths happened early on Friday.
The victims, Ranganathan, 50, Naveen Kumar, 25, and Thirumalai, 20, were all from Dalit community members from Katchipedu village in Kancheepuram district.
“The village had to see the funeral of all three on the same day .Naveen 25, married and leaves a young wife. Tirumalai 20 got married just 3 months back. Ranganathan 50, leaves behind a wife and two children,” read a tweet by Dalit activist Shalin Maria Lawrence.
While resort manager Murali and contractor Rajini were arrested on Friday, the resort owner, Sathyamoorthy, is on the run.
Following the deaths, kin of the deceased and villagers of Katchipedu gathered outside the resort and protested against the management.
A case was booked under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
M Aarathi, Kancheepuram District Collector said that they will get Rs 10 lakh compensation for each of the victims from the resort owner and Rs 12 lakh each will be paid by the government, New Indian Express reported.
“This is just this month’s official number. Manual scavenger deaths happens every month in Tamil Nadu. It’s on the rise and the state ranks no.1 in India for manual scavenger deaths. Inspite of the protests from civil societies and activists in the state, the governments have always turned a blind eye towards the death of manula scavengers. The SC/ST commisson, The Adi-Dravida welfare minister of the state, the elected representatives from the reserved constituencies remain silent,” said Lawrence via a series of tweets.
She said: There has not been a official statement from Tamil Nadu CM on the issue. Just like his predecessor from ADMK, he too does not take responsibility. Both the dravidian parties do not care about the deaths. The contractors,the civic officers go unpublished.”
“I am asking the state. What should we do more for you to stop this from happening? Why are you silent on the plights of the Dalits? Do you realise it’s a genocide? You want our votes right? But when will you care for our lives? Our lives worth nothing to you?” she asked.