Bharat Bandh: Shiv ‘Raj’ fails again in Madhya Pradesh
The law and order machinery failed in Madhya Pradesh when 8 people died during the Bharat Bandh on April 2. Even some state govt ministers accept that there were lapses in handling the demonstration
The administration and law and order machinery failed once again in Madhya Pradesh when eight people died during the Bharat Bandh on April 2. Various Dalit organisations had organised the Bharat Bandh in protest against the dilution of certain stringent provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by a Supreme Court ruling.
Dalits form 15% and Adivasis 21% of the total population of Madhya Pradesh. According to a report by the National Crime Records Bureau, 4,922 cases of atrocities against Scheduled Castes (Dalits) and 1,823 cases of atrocities against Scheduled Tribes (Adivasis) were registered in MP in the year 2016. Cases of violence and untouchability against these communities are still rampant, particularly in the regions of Chambal, Bundelkhand and Bagelkhand. In comparison to 2014 and 2015, the cases of violence against SCs have registered a considerable increase in 2016 and 2017. In such a scenario, it was only to be expected that they would come out in large numbers in support of the call for Bharat Bandh.
Yet for the first time, a bandh in Madhya Pradesh saw so many die. On the day of the bandh, seven people died. On the next day, a body of a person said to have been killed in the violence was recovered from Gwalior.
Former Congress Chief Minister of MP Digvijaya Singh has called the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP state government insensitive, after the level of violence witnessed during the Bandh. State Congress President Arun Yadav, extending his condolences to families of the deceased, staged a silent dharna. He has demanded a judicial enquiry into the anarchy and violence in the entire state. He also demanded a compensation of ₹10 lakh for the families of each deceased, and a job for one dependent.
Dalits are annoyed at the Bandh being described in the media as violent and chaotic. According to them, people who were not among the protestors incited indulged in violence in order to defame the entire demonstration. It’s being said that one of the deaths, in Morena, was actually due to an old rivalry but is being ascribed to the Bharat Bandh protests. In the case of another death in Bhind, a case has been registered against the police
Even some state government ministers are accepting that there were lapses in handling the demonstration in the state. Health minister Rustam Singh admitted that the situation went out of control. Urban Administration Minister Maya Singh issued a statement that due to the delay in police action, violence spread on a large scale. State organisational secretary of Aam Aadmi Party Pankaj Singh has demanded a high level enquiry into the matter.
Dalits are annoyed at the Bandh being described in the media as violent and chaotic. According to them, people who were not among the protestors incited indulged in violence in order to defame the entire demonstration. It’s being said that one of the deaths, in Morena, was actually due to an old rivalry but is being ascribed to the Bharat Bandh protests. In the case of another death in Bhind, a case has been registered against the police. Dalit organisations are trying to identify the person who was shot dead in Gwalior. According to them, he was a BJP party worker. They are demanding an enquiry into the matter. They also say the workers of Bhim Sena and Bajrang Dal reportedly clashed with each other in places.
Congress Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh said that the state’s law and order machinery failed absolutely during the demonstration. It is important to note that in June last year, the state intelligence failed during the farmers’ movement in Mandsaur and as a result farmers had died during the police shoot-out. Before this, farmers had also organised a huge movement in Bhopal. And in all these cases, the state intelligence under CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was said to be a colossal failure.
Translated from Hindi by Pragati Saxena
- Supreme Court
- Shivraj Singh Chouhan
- Madhya Pradesh
- Aam Aadmi Party
- National Crime Records Bureau
- Pankaj Singh
- SC/ST Act
- Bajrang Dal
- law and order
- Digvijaya Singh
- Ajay Singh
- Bhim Sena
- Bharat bandh
- Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan
- Maya Singh
- Arun Yadav
- SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
- SC/ST (PoA) Act
- Dalit organisations
- Rustam Singh