Manual Scavenging in India: The Banality of An Everyday Crime

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Shiva Shankar
Kanthi Swaroop

Abstract

Manual scavenging is the practice of ‘manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or otherwise handling, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit’, and its existence is a crime of genocidal proportions. The vast majority of people forced into this degrading occupation are women from Dalit castes. The Government of India has outlawed the practice through two Acts of 1993 and 2013, yet it continues everywhere in the country. This essay argues that the persistence of this crime is a consequence of the criminal indifference of a casteist society, and that resistance to it has largely been the heroic effort of the victims alone.

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How to Cite
Shankar, S., & Swaroop, K. (2021). Manual Scavenging in India: The Banality of An Everyday Crime. CASTE / A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, 2(1), 67-76. https://doi.org/10.26812/caste.v2i1.299
Section
Research Articles
Author Biographies

Shiva Shankar, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

Visiting Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai

Kanthi Swaroop, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

Ph.D Candidate, Centre for Policy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai