New Delhi, Sep 19 A manager of self-styled godman Rampal’s “ashram” here was arrested early on Tuesday morning in connection with the death of two devotees while cleaning a sewer in the ashram premises on Monday evening, police said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Pankaj Singh told IANS that Chand Rathi, 32, was arrested in the early hours from the ashram premises in Mundka in west Delhi.
On August 21, the Delhi government had imposed a blanket ban on manual cleaning of sewers, following 10 deaths due to manual scavenging in the national capital in just over a month.
The two devotees — Makhan Das, 32, and Amarjeet, 25 — died while cleaning the sewer manually and they did not have any safety equipment with them, the officer said.
“Our investigation has revealed that the devotees used to clean the sewage annually,” the officer told IANS.
Rampal is currently in jail in connection with another case.
With these two deaths, the number of those dying due to manual cleaning of sewers has reached 12 in just over two months.
On August 20, a sanitation worker had died while cleaning a sewer at a city government hospital.
On August 12, two brothers had died from suffocation while cleaning a septic pit at a mall in Shahdara in east Delhi.
On August 6, three persons had died after inhaling toxic gases while cleaning a sewer in Lajpat Nagar in south Delhi.
On July 15, four persons had died after inhaling poisonous gases as they entered a water harvesting tank in Ghitorni of south Delhi.
In all the cases, lack of safety equipment was a common factor.