The Maila Mukti Yatra 2012-13 has passed its half-way mark at Kolar, Karnataka on 30 December 2012.
The Yatra began on 30 November from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and will conclude on 31 January at New Delhi.
The Yatra is led by women who have chosen to stop the inhuman work of disposing/managing human excreta i.e manual scavenging. Almost 100 such manual scavengers who have refused to continue this caste occupation are on this Yatra to urge others involved in such work to also stop. These women have organised themselves into an organisation called Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan.
At Chennai the Maila Mukti Yatra held a press conference and further they held community level discussions with people engaged in manual scavenging on 29 December. They met women and men manual scavengers at Pallavaram, Chennai.
The women from the Yatra urged the locals to leave this caste occupation and find other work. In the discussions the locals argued that their only source of livelihood was manual scavenging, and that they would starve if they did not do this work. The women on the Yatra narrated their experiences and explained that it was no doubt a struggle, but that it is essential if they want a dignified life for themselves and their children.
Their message is clear, “stop this degrading work, it has brought us no respect in society and we refuse to engage in manual scavenging“, in the words of Lali Bai, one of the women who has left scavenging and is a campaigner in the Yatra.
The Maila Mukti Yatra is in Karnataka now and will continue its journey through the villages, towns and cities of western India till it reaches Delhi on 31 January.
To support the cause and express solidarity with them please call this TOLL FREE number: (0) 9266638869
The following are links to petitions and more information about this cause and manual scavenging in general.