Video shows Hyderabad orphanage forcing HIV-positive girls to clean sewer
The warden and supervisor of an orphanage, that houses over 200 orphaned HIV positive children, were arrested by Hyderabad Police on Sunday after a video showing a girl cleaning a manhole with her bare hands went viral on social media, with child rights activists and political parties demanding stern action against the NGO.
The video shows the girl from Ambassadors of Goodwill for AIDS Patients Everywhere (AGAPE) at Gayatrinagar near Boduppal on the city’s outskirts with her face covered in a scarf getting into a manhole and removing muck from the sewer with a mug.
There are at least 5 other girls wearing gloves around the manhole who were also involved in manual scavenging. A person is heard asking the girl to remove the muck quickly.
India has passed several laws to end manual scavenging with the government pledging to modernise sanitation to end the manual disposal of faeces as well as criminalising employing anyone to do so.
Rachakonda commissioner of police Mahesh Bhagawat said the warden of the orphanage Yellagiri Prajavathi (45) and supervisor G Elavarasan (36) were arrested. “A case was filed against them under Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act and Section 3 read with 14 of the child labour act,” Bhagawat said.
The Andhra Pradesh Child Rights Association on Monday filed a petition with National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) seeking action against the orphanage for forcing an HIV positive girl to clean a manhole.
Child Rights Association president P Achuyta Rao told Hindustan Times that the orphanage has 235 orphaned children, who are all HIV positive, and the hostel authorities were forcing them to do household chores, besides manual scavenging works.
“This is nothing but the blatant violation of child rights. It is all the more a big crime because the Supreme Court has banned manual scavenging in the country. We shall not rest till the orphanage is closed and the children are shifted to state-run home at Yousufguda,” Rao said.
The Child Welfare Committee of Ranga Reddy district has ordered a probe and assured action after the investigation is completed.