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Allahabad: In a break from tradition, liberated manual scavenger women, earlier regarded as untouchables, would join top priests in performing rituals at the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati at the Kumbh Mela.

Around 100 former scavenger women from Rajsthan's Alwar and Tonk districts would get an opportunity of taking holy dip at the Sangam and perform puja at the ongoing Kumbh Mela on February 7.

It is an effort towards social upliftment, said Bindeshwar Pathak, who has initiated this model of social engineering.

He said the former scavengers would join hands with top Hindu priests in performing the rituals.

"Not only this, they will dine with some of the top Hindu religious leaders, including followers of various sects like the Naga sadhus, at the venue later this week. We are trying to interact them with some of the top most religious leaders at the Akharas of Hindu religious sects during their stay in the Kumbh grounds," Pathak said.

The founder of Sulabh International said his organisation has played a significant role in liberating untouchable scavengers from the sub-human occupation of cleaning night soil – a practice nearly 5,000 years old.

He said that so far Sulabh has converted 1.3 million bucket toilets into flush toilets and lakhs of scavengers have been freed from manual cleaning of human faeces and shackles of untouchability.

Pathak said after the human scavengers were relieved from this sub-human occupation, it was then a question of their livelihood, to rehabilitate and to bring them in the mainstream of the society.

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