A video capturing an office bearer of the BJP’s youth wing allegedly assaulting an elderly tribal man near the body of another tribal man who had tragically lost his life in a road accident has caught the headlines. The opposition has seized upon the incident, criticising the ruling BJP government for being against the interests of tribals. The attack comes at the heels of a rising number of violence against Dalit and Tribal populations in Madhya Pradesh. The state only last month saw the brutal murder and rape of a young tribal child by a dominant caste Thakur man.
This is another incident of violence and humiliation by upper castes against tribal people. On September 18, Bhoma Singh, a 60-year-old individual, was involved in a fatal accident while riding his motorcycle. The accident occurred when his bike collided with a pickup truck, and it led to his death. Barnu Singh Marawi, aged 57 on the other hand was the passenger on the bike riding with the now deceased Bhoma Singh, survived the accident only to become the target of an assault by the accused. He was beaten viciously with slippers as he tried to recover from the accident. The accused is identified as Jaiganesh Dixit, who held the position of Anuppur (rural) Mandal president within the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha.
According to a senior police officer, a crowd had gathered at the accident site, and they began questioning the injured Marawi, who, in his state of shock, was unable to provide coherent responses. Jaiganesh Singh, accompanied by another individual named Jitendra Kushwaha, allegedly confronted Marawi and, in light of his inability to answer their inquiries, reportedly resorted to physical assault. The accused individuals have subsequently been detained, and legal proceedings are underway.
The incident gained significant attention after a video of the altercation went viral. It led to Jaiganesh Dixit’s removal from his position. In a formal communication addressed to the accused, Ravindra Rathore, the district BJP Yuva Morcha president, stated that Dixit’s actions constituted “gross indiscipline.”
“The said act done by you, which has gone viral on social media (and) due to which the image of the party has been tarnished, comes in the category of gross indiscipline. Therefore, you are relieved from responsibility of the party’s board president with immediate effect,” Rathore’s letter declared.
The incident has triggered vehement condemnation from the opposition, which has accused the ruling BJP government of fostering an “anti-tribal” environment. Taking to social media, Congress leader Kamal Nath directed a pointed message at Chief Minister Chouhan, declaring, “You cannot ignore this gruesome video. Next to the dead body of a tribal man in Anuppur district, a BJP leader is seen beating another tribal man with a slipper. When you cannot stop atrocities on tribals, at least resign from the post of CM. The hypocrisy of washing feet cannot atone for your cruel rule. You have not only made Madhya Pradesh number one in atrocities against tribals but have also made the state number one in the level of cruelty in such incidents.”
Nath continued, “Have you given a licence to BJP workers to commit atrocities against tribals? A tribal daughter and five family members are buried alive in Nemawar. In Neemuch, a tribal youth was tied to a vehicle and dragged to death. A tribal youth in Sidhi was urinated upon. And every time, the person committing atrocities against tribals is either a leader of BJP or someone associated with it.”
शिवराज सिंह चौहान जी आप यह वीभत्स वीडियो देखकर अनदेखा नहीं कर सकते। अनूपपुर जिले में एक आदिवासी व्यक्ति के शव के बगल में भारतीय जनता पार्टी का नेता दूसरे आदिवासी व्यक्ति को चप्पल से पीट रहा है। मध्य प्रदेश में भारतीय जनता पार्टी, आदिवासी अत्याचार पार्टी बनती जा रही है।
आखिर आप… pic.twitter.com/tb9PENDuNr
— Kamal Nath (@OfficeOfKNath) September 20, 2023
The All India Trinamool Congress to spoke on the event, asking if the BJP government has given a licence to BJP workers to assault a tribal.
Jaiganesh Dixit, a @BJP4MP leader, brutally assaulted a 57-year-old tribal man with slippers in Madhya Pradesh. The victim was severely injured & is currently undergoing treatment.
CM @ChouhanShivraj, have you given license to BJP workers to commit atrocities on tribals?
— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) September 20, 2023
Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh
In the state of Madhya Pradesh, specifically in Shahdol, a young tribal girl was beaten violently at the hands of a group of assailants while she was on her way to college. In the video that was posted on social media on September 16th, one can see the assailants repeatedly come to try and beat her again despite there being others present with a camera recording going on.
Madhya Pradesh – Shahdol, tribal girl beaten badly by gang members while going to college.
Keep in mind that Madhya Pradesh is a BJP ruled state.pic.twitter.com/CZN6l8aa7c
— Mohmmad Zubair (@zoo_bear123) September 16, 2023
Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh
Once again in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol a horrifying incident occurred where a 55-year-old elderly tribal woman was brutally assaulted at the hands of three women. This attack was reportedly fuelled by suspicions of witchcraft against the victim. Incidents of violence against tribal women have seen increasingly less coverage except by alternate media.
⚠️Warning: mind distracting visuals
In MP’s Shahdol, a 55-year-old elderly tribal woman was brutally thrashed by three women on suspicion of witchcraft.
Our progress is meaningless if we are still practicing casteist & atrocious beliefs. pic.twitter.com/X80rZUquwt
— Mission Ambedkar (@MissionAmbedkar) September 16, 2023
These horrifying incidents against tribals come from the BJP-ruled state even as top BJP leaders visit the state every now and then. Just in July this year in fact, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the state and held special sessions with tribal women in Shahdol itself.
According to an analysis by CJP, the surge in anti-tribal violence has become an alarming concern. There is also a significant backlog of cases that are awaiting investigation. As of the year 2021, there were a staggering 70,818 reported cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes and 12,159 cases against Scheduled Tribes pending investigation. According to data sourced from the National Crime Records Bureau report of 2021, a total of 2,63,512 cases involving SCs and 42,512 cases involving STs had been brought before the courts for trial.
Furthermore in in 2020, the Citizens for Justice and Peace initiated action by approaching the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes in response to the injustice faced by members of the nomadic Van Gujjar tribe within the jurisdiction of Rajaji National Park in Dehradun. Starting from June 16, 2020, forest officials had reportedly been subjecting the community residing in the Asharodi Forest of Rajaji National Park to continuous harassment. This relentless persecution culminated in the arrest of several members of a particular family, as well as injuries sustained by others who were subsequently admitted to hospitals. Tribals in India suffer from increasing marginalisation and violence. There is a dire need for these issues to be addressed robustly in order to ensure violence against the marginalised group stops.