Deaths due to Manual Scavenging
There is no proper data on the number of manual scavengers and the government hugely suppresses the number of manual scavenging deaths.

Recently, Uttar Pradesh saw eight deaths due to manual scavenging within a short span of ten days. On 2nd May, Shroban Yadav, 57, and his son Sushil Yadav, 30, were killed while testing a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. On 3rd May, two daily wage workers, Kokan Mandal, 40, and Nooni Mandal, 36, were killed while cleaning the septic tank of a private residence in Noida Sector 26.

Soon after on 9th May, four people died from inhaling toxic gases while cleaning the septic tank of a house in Mughalsarai, Chandauli. Three of the victims, Vinod Rawat, 35 Kundan, 42, and Loha, 23, were informal sanitation workers while the fourth victim was the son of the house owner who died while trying to save the workers. In October 2023 the Supreme Court ordered a compensation of 30 lakhs to the families of victims of manual scavenging which has not reached any of the victims so far. Allegedly, the District Administration promised to provide only Rs 4 lakh ex gratia to each deceased in the incident in Chandauli. In India, the lives of workers are considered cheap and inexpensive and they can only safeguard their rights through unionization, said Roma, a senior activist from the All India Union of Forest Working People.

In all of the incidents, the workers worked as informal labourers or contractual sanitation workers and were made to clean sewer/septic tanks without any supervision. The sewer/septic tank workers are not provided with any safety equipment and often they have to face the toxic gases with just a handkerchief, said Radhika Bordia, a senior journalist who has been covering these cases for the last 25 years.

Many workers are made to forcibly enter sewer/septic tanks by contracting agencies or private residents. In one such incident on 12th May, a housekeeping staff member, Hare Krishan Prasad, was forced to enter the sewer in D Mall, Rohini, Delhi, where he was killed due to inhalation of toxic gases. Colin Gonsalves, Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court believes that the municipal authorities should be held responsible for the deaths of these workers and held accountable for these offenses which are as serious as murder charges.
Sanjeev Kumar
Dalit Adivasi Shakti AdhikarManch (DASAM)

Climate Scientists Are Freaking Out
Ocean temperatures are off the charts–they’ve broken records EVERY DAY for the past year!

Now Atlantic currents that regulate the entire climate are going haywire, and coral reefs from Mexico to Australia are blistering to death. The ocean's nurseries are withering. This is mass extinction.

Millions of people are already running from wildfires, famine, and floods every year–and it'll only get worse. The climate crisis will affect everybody everywhere.

The younger you are, the more severe it could become.

The legal battle to stop a giant oil pipeline in East Africa is on a knife’s edge; Indigenous communities in the Amazon are fighting for crucial protections; and a potential lawsuit against BP for their toxic oil fields is just taking off. The weeks and months ahead could be decisive.

Living organisms are fragile. Beyond a certain temperature, they simply overheat and die.

Some parts of the planet are now approaching that red line when just a few hours outside can be deadly. Yet world leaders and CEOs still aggressively fuel this crisis.

As the world bakes, this is the moment to harness public attention and force radical action.

 Climate Change
Bengal's temperature is higher than Rajasthan's–this writer is not surprised with it. Days ago, Dhaka was hotter than day-time in Dubai and Saudi Arabia; and those deserts were cooler at night than Dhaka. Dhaka, days ago, was hotter than Meghalaya, with a few hundred km of distance between the two. Now, there is a red alert in Kerala due to a heat wave.

People are experiencing the tail-end of El Nino; and then, La Nina is going to come, which will bring a lot of serious anomalies in weather, and its associates–the rains, etc.
There is, in addition to these, the great climate crisis.
Farooque Chowdhury

 Border Security Force
India and Bangladesh have a long-drawn international border; the major portion of this international border is with the Indian state of West Bengal. The reality is that the populace living along the sides of the international border has unique similarities in their socio-economic as well as religious identities, as mostly are Dalits of the Hindu community and oppressed Backward classes of the Muslim community.

In the presence of border guards; and Border Security Force (BSF) nobody can hope for a decent and peaceful civil life. Peasants are being harassed to carry out their normal livelihood activities, women are not secure, small-time traders are always apprehensive about their business activities, and on the whole BSF presence wrecked normal life.

The very presence of the armed forces within civilian inhabitation is drawing several disturbances. The women and girls facing gender-sensitive humiliation as the force are most of the time gender insensitive by their practices and behaviour.

The BSF creates whimsical regulations to micromanage the villagers. For instance, the villagers have to submit their AADHAR Cards (UDI) and stand in a long queue every day before going to their land. The civil administration is systemically encroaching on the personal liberty of citizens by promulgating section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code throughout the border for decades without any respite, the civil administration never thought about its legalities and only nodded in BSF’s illegitimate demand.

Bangladesh is a friendly country of India like Nepal and Bhutan, in both cases, the citizenry of corresponding countries has no such restrictions in movements. For Nepal and Bhutan, Indian citizens do not require a Visa or passport to visit those countries, similarly, Nepalis and Bhutanese do not require a visa or passport to visit India. Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB) is posted at the India-Nepal and India-Bhutan border, which is not such an ill-reputed force as BSF is. This act of the Indian State is against the basic tenet of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
Kirity Roy. MASUM

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Vol 56, No. 49, Jun 2 - 8, 2024