Madhya Pradesh: Two tribal men assaulted and beaten

The two incidents of violent assault against tribal men occurred last week consecutively in rural Madhya Pradesh. Both incidents involved certain level of humiliation, with one youth assaulted and poured urine on, and another stripped and beaten.

Two violent incidents of crimes against tribal men have emerged from Madhya Pradesh earlier this month, shortly after news of a young tribal child being raped and murdered in the state. While arrests have been made there seems to be no promise of any concrete action by the government to tackle these issues as of now.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in August 2022 shed light on troubling data which revealed a disturbing increase in crimes against tribal people by 6.4% respectively in 2021 compared to the previous year, with tribal communities seeing the largest rise. These statistics help us see that violence against tribals is not an exception but has become a normal state that needs to be tackled with immediacy by the government. In this context, it is essential to examine two recent incidents of violent attacks against tribal men in Madhya Pradesh, bringing into focus the urgent need for addressing these issues at a systemic and preventive level.

Barahbariari, Chhindwara District

In a remote corner of Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara district, a video uploaded on social media has thrust the village of Barahbariari into the spotlight after villagers were caught forcibly thrashing and torturing a young tribal man in public. The mob’s actions were nothing short of barbaric: they poured urine on his chest and face, delivered relentless slaps to his head and face, and made him parade around the village with a garland woven of shoes and slippers. This grotesque spectacle was all captured in harrowing detail by a video that was rapidly shared across social media platforms on Sunday.

The incident unfolded on September 4th after young man had just returned to his home after celebrating the Raksha Bandhan festival at his in-laws’ residence when villagers brutally assaulted and humiliated him on his return to the village. The villagers believed that the young man might be linked to the alleged thefts that had targeted clothing items belonging to women and children within the community. A day prior to the incident, the villagers had visited the house of the victim and surrounded it, demanding the family to tell the whereabouts of their son.

The victim’s father, a helpless witness to the brutality narrated his futile attempts to intervene and reason with the agitated villagers. But despite his attempts and those of village leaders, the mob persisted in their merciless assault until they eventually handed over the battered young man to the local police.

The victim is married with two daughters and shares a home with his parents and elder brother on their six-acre farmland which they use to survive and make ends meet. The incident has left not only physical scars but also raised grave questions about the treatment of the accused and the circumstances that led to this shocking instance of mob violence. As of now reports suggest that say that one accused has been arrested by the police in this case.

Gunnor, Panna District

Another horrifying case of assault against tribal people surfaced from Madhya Pradesh. A tribal youth who was employed as a cleaner on a private inter-state bus service endured a horrifying ordeal. He was forcibly stripped and brutally beaten by a passengers along with the bus conductor, in Gunnor, Panna district of Madhya Pradesh.

According to The Week, Superintendent of Police Sai Krishna Thota of Panna announced that a case, invoking non-bailable sections, was swiftly registered after the incident. Additionally, the primary suspect has been apprehended and subsequently incarcerated.

Speaking to The Week, Edwin Carr, the Sub-divisional Officer of Police (SDOP) in Gunnor, confirmed that a case has been filed against seven individuals for assault and property damage. During the incident, the bus’s windshield and windows were shattered by the assailants. Sajul Singh Parmar who is the principal suspect has been detained and the search for the remaining culprits is ongoing.

The horrifying event unfolded in the early hours of last Monday, September 4, 2023. The footage depicted the harrowing ordeal, involving the stripping and physical assault of Rinku Kol, bus conductor Umesh Tiwari, and two other passengers.

The MP Congress also shared a CCTV footage of the incident on the social media site X.

According to sources, Sajul Singh Parmar, the accused, had purchased a ticket for a bus journey from Bharuch in Gujarat to Shankargarh in Gunnor, Panna. This bus service is operated by a Panna-based private agency.

Tensions escalated when Parmar reportedly insisted on a separate seat, a demand that the conductor, Tiwari, refused to accommodate. This initial dispute escalated into a heated argument.

Upon reaching Shankargarh at approximately 3 am on Monday, Parmar summoned associates to the scene, allegedly demanding money from Tiwari to purchase alcohol. When denied, they subjected Tiwari to physical violence, alongside Kol, who was also subjected to humiliation. Two passengers who attempted to intervene also faced brutal beatings, while the driver was threatened for trying to prevent further damage to the bus.

The incident triggered an immediate response from the Madhya Pradesh Congress, which shared the CCTV footage on social media platforms, condemning the brutal attack on the tribal youth.

The X page of MP Congress also shared a statement by Rinku Kol, the victim asserting that he was unjustly stripped and assaulted without provocation. He maintains in his statement that he was merely carrying out his duties and had not engaged with the accused passenger in any altercation, when he and his manager had been assaulted.

The MP Congress Chief and former Chief Minister of the state Kamal Nath also criticised the BJP government and also highlighted a long list of atrocities against tribal communities in the state. He also questioned the government’s lack of actions for the increasing incidents of tribal abuse and urged them to take swift and decisive action and also sought an apology for the Panna victim.



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