‘Gravediggers not paid honorarium for 3 years’

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Bangalore: As many as 186 gravediggers’ families, working in the 120-odd graveyards in Bangalore, have not been paid their monthly honorarium of Rs 500 by the State government for the past three years, Dalitha Sangharsha Samithi (DSS) claimed on Thursday.

Addressing mediapersons here, DSS president Balakrishna said nearly 90 per cent of the workers had not received their honorarium. “They are dependent on handouts from the families of the dead. Many do not even have proper houses and are living in dilapidated sheds on the graveyard premises. They have no medical coverage or provident fund benefits either,” he said.

The Samithi has written to the chief minister to classify them as Group D workers so that they get government benefits, he said. The Samithi members threatened to dig a grave in front of the chief minister’s house if the government failed to fulfil their demands.

Among the gravediggers present at the Samiti press conference was Sowmya, a 17-year-old girl, who lost her father and is taking care of her mother and a disabled sister, by digging graves at the Hebbal graveyard. She has been living in the graveyard since her birth and has never been to school, DSS said.

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