Ajmal Khan is a student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. He can be contacted at [email protected]
The story of Sunil Yadav is one of the most inspiring one for not only a Dalit but everyone else. He is a first generation literate from the Valmeeki (Scheduled Caste) community in Maharashtra who have joined as a conservancy worker in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) Mumbai. He joined soon after the death of his father in 2005 as class -VI employee. Being the sole bred winner of the six member family, despite all the hardships, he manage to complete a double masters and diploma in social work and mass communication while he was working. Today he is a MA Globalisation and Labour student of Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS), Mumbai and also holds an offer to go for an exchange progamme to University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa. Now here comes the BMC, he had applied for study leaves as he got admitted in TISS, its been nine months now, BMC has not been taken any action on his application. He attend the classes at day time and work at night. First he was told that, a Safai Karmachari is not eligible to get study leave.
According to the service rules of BMC, any employee is eligible for study leave if the course is going to be helpful for the development of the employee. This is the first time in the history of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation one Safai Karmachari is applying for seeking a study leave. There are about 40,000 class -IV workers in the BMC, about all of them do the works like sweeping and cleaning man holes, interestingly most of them hails from Dalit community’s particular castes. They join as a class-IV employees and remain in the same designation until their retirement. They never get opportunity to educated them selves and make their careers better, they all have to give their entire service life as a Safai Karmachari. Since this particular work is been done by people who belongs to some particular castes, the issue never get media or public attention. When news about Sunil Yadav came in the media, Prime Ministers office had told the National Scheduled Castes Commission to intervene in the case.
National Scheduled caste commission had called for a hearing on 11th February, Monday in Mumbai where BMC commissioner and assistant commissioner were present, after the detailed hearing of the four member National SC Commission BMC was told to sanction his leave application within seven days from 11th, otherwise BMC will be charged under Prevention of Atrocities Act, BMC commissioner and assistant commissioner were present at the hearing had also accepted it, about twenty five of this friends from TISS was also present at the hearing in Sahyadri Guest house, Malabar Hill in solidarity with their friend. But this is been more than ten days now, neither National SC Commission has charged BMC on Atrocities Act or Sunil has not been received any communication regarding the leave sanction from the BMC authorities. His leave application has to be sanctioned to complete the Masters progarmme as well as to go Johannesburg.
The long delay to give a reply on his application and the careless dealing of his case clearly indicate the Castist attitude and discriminatory treatment of the Safi Karmacharis from the authorities of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, a civic body and how the issue of a Safai Karmachari’s (who belongs to the Dalit communities) is not important concern even when the Prime Ministers office and National SC Commission has intervened in the issue and given the dead line to take action.