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Yeh Jo India Hai Na, Its Bulldozer Tamasha Won't Help Tribals in Madhya Pradesh

What is being done about the atrocities against tribals that don’t go viral? That's the real question.

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India
3 min read
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Video Producer: Aparna Singh

Video Editors: Abhishek Sharma and Prajjwal Kumar

You may feel shocked, deeply ashamed, angry, speechless, and repulsed...you may find it unbelievable that one human being can do this to another, urinate on him.

And yet, here in India...it did happen. In BJP worker Pravesh Shukla’s twisted world, this man, Dashmat Rawat, an Adivasi tribal man, is a lesser human, and so, Shukla urinated all over him.

And when did this happen? Years ago, in 2020! So sure was Dashmat Rawat that the police would do nothing, so afraid was he of being further targeted by Pravesh Shukla, that Rawat stayed silent.

Unfortunately, Yeh Jo India Hai Na…it has many more like Pravesh Shukla for whom degrading, humiliating, abusing, and even killing an Adivasi man comes easily.

And if anyone thinks, "yeh pehli baar ho raha hai"...sorry!

Atrocities against India’s tribal people are not new, especially in Madhya Pradesh, the so-called heart of India.

Jo desh ka dil kehlata hai, voh kayi baar kitna kathor ho sakta hai, dekhiye.

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Past Atrocities in Madhya Pradesh

In August 2021, Kanhaiyalal Bheel was beaten, tied up, and then dragged by a truck on a tarred road. He later died in the hospital.

Bheel was treated worse than an animal, on just the suspicion of theft in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch District. His life and his dignity didn’t matter. Why? Because he was an Adivasi man.

In May 2022, Sampatlal Batti and Dhansay Inwati, both tribal people, were beaten to death by alleged Bajrang Dal members on the mere suspicion of cow slaughter in Seoni district.

In July 2022, in Guna district, Rampyaari Bai was burnt to death by a group of men for allegedly trying to grab her land. And so – it is Madhya Pradesh, which is home to 1.6 crore Adivasi people, more than any other Indian state – that is the most unsafe for tribal Indians.

To understand why, let’s look beyond the messed up mindset of a Pravesh Shukla, let’s look at the state’s response.
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How the MP Govt Responded

After the urination video went viral, what did Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan do? Bulldozer tamasha.

Pravesh Shukla’s home was demolished in Bollywood-style, instant justice for the media. Videos of the house being demolished are going viral too.

Along with "tough guy" tweets from the CM’s handle, calling it Mamaji’s justice, NSA laga diya gaya hai, bulldozer chala diya gaya hai, zaroorat padi, to Mamaji apradhiyon ko 10 foot zameen ke neeche bhi gaad denge!

Bulldozing Shukla’s home and invoking the NSA is not due process. It is just playing to the gallery. Pravesh Shukla must feel the might of the law, but why should his family?

Then, a day later, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen washing the victim Dashmat Rawat’s feet at the CM's residence. It was a gesture with a strong message.

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What the Numbers Say

But was all this mainly ‘damage control’ because a purported video of the crime had gone viral? Because Pravesh Shukla was revealed to be a BJP worker? Because Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are just months away?

Because Adivasi people are 21 percent of MP’s population, and the BJP can’t afford to lose such a massive vote bank? The answer, of course, is yes.

So, the real question is that beyond the tamasha that we have seen in response to this atrocity, what is being done about the thousands of atrocities against tribal Indians that don’t go viral?

Here, the statistics are damning. While Madhya Pradesh is home to 13.6 percent of India’s tribal population, 23.5 percent of crimes against tribal people in India take place in MP.

Almost 1/4th of all crimes against tribal people in India take place in MP. And it’s worse when it comes to murder. Over 40 percent of murder cases of tribal people in India are reported in MP.

And what is the conviction rate? Just 22 percent. That means four out of every five Pravesh Shuklas DO NOT go to jail.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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