Amid vehement demands for eradicating the scourge of manual scavenging, 100 women formerly involved in the occupation today took a holy dip in the Sangam and participated in functions organised at the ongoing Maha Kumbh here.
The former scavengers, hailing from Alwar and Tonk districts of Rajasthan, have been brought by Sulabh International founder Bindeshwari
"The reason behind organising such an event is social uplift of the people involved in the demeaning occupation and also sending the message across that these people are very much a part of our society and must not be treated as untouchables," Pathak told reporters.
Over the years, Sulabh has converted at least 1.3 million bucket toilets into flush toilets which has helped in freeing countless scavengers from manual cleaning of human waste, he said.
The women marched to the Sangam in a procession and were joined by "around 150 Sanskrit scholars, seers and pundits" for a holy dip in the confluence of
Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.
The effort drew applause from a number of prominent seers like Swami Gajanandji Maharaj of Niranjani
Akhara, Gahanand Maharaj of Anand Akhara and Swami Anand Giri of Baghambari
Gaddi, who invited the former scavengers to take part in their rituals besides sharing food with other devotees.