4 held over septic tank deaths in east Delhi

Four people were arrested in connection with the deaths of two men while cleaning a septic tank in a banquet room in Patparganj, east Delhi on Thursday.

Deputy Police Commissioner (East) Deepak Yadav said the defendants had been identified as Rahul, Amir, Johit and Girish, who were arrested Friday night.

Johir and Girish are directors of the banquet room, while Amir is the general manager and Rahul is a hospitality worker who allegedly called the workers for the job, police said.

“The Planned Caste and Tribe (Atrocity Prevention) Act of 1989 was passed against Amir, Girish and Johit,” one official said, adding that it was not relied on against Rahul as he is a community member.

Two waiters, Lokesh Kumar and Prem Chand, both residents of Trilokpuri, died in the banquet room septic tank on Thursday when they were allegedly forced to clean it. Their families claimed the two were told that if they did not clean the tank, they would not be paid for the day’s work.

Police had registered a case under Section 304A (Death from Negligence) of the IPC and Section 9 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act.

BJP calls for relief

Earlier in the day, the BJP described the deaths as “sad and unhappy”.

The opposition leader in the gathering, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, asked for £ 10 each in compensation for the relatives of the victims and wrote to Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal calling for the manual cleaning of septic tanks to be stopped.

“It is unfortunate that despite the high level of pre-election claims by the AAP government that manual sewer cleaning would be eliminated and everything would be done mechanically, manual septic tank and sewer cleaning continues, which is shameful and necessary and condemned “Wrote Mr Bidhuri.

In the recent past, Bidhuri wrote, there have been a number of incidents involving manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks which have resulted in the deaths of workers and the government is watching everything like a silent bystander.

The government of Delhi, said Bidhuri, held a “big show” to introduce machines for sewer cleaning. Still, nothing has changed and the event was “just a publicity stunt” to mislead people.

“The government had also announced that it would provide adequate safety equipment to workers involved in this work, but that remained on paper,” he said.

Mr Bidhuri urged the Prime Minister to immediately stop any manual cleaning of sewers and to ensure that the government takes strict measures against mistakes.

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