Ruled by the Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP), Madhya Pradesh witnessed serious human rights
violations against the Dalits, indigenous peoples and religious
minorities (please refer to the thematic chapter on attacks
on religious minorities).
The Madhya Pradesh Police
were responsible for arbitrary arrest, detention and torture,
arbitrary, summary and unlawful deprivation of the right
to life. The police enjoyed virtual impunity. In November
2004, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a police
officer responsible for custodial death of a convict, Shambhu
Tyagi in June 1984. However, most custodial deaths went unpunished
like the death of Hamid Khan on 15 June 1995, Govind Prasad
of 1997, Pancham Kachhi of 1998 and Kesar Singh of 2001.
In February 2004, Justice
R D Shukla, former Chairman of the Madhya Pradesh State
Human Rights Commission stated that the state government
had been non-cooperative. Violence against women including rape,
molestation, dowry harassment and dowry deaths, was widespread.
Even mediaeval form of atrocity against women namely Sati
has been reported to be alive in the rural parts of the
The Dalit and indigenous
women were vulnerable, especially of rape by the upper caste
and the law enforcement personnel. On the night of 8 July
2004, three women of a Dalit family were allegedly gang
raped by about thirty men belonging to upper caste at Bhamtola
village under Kahniwara police station in Seoni district
in retaliation for elopement of a Dalit boy with an upper
caste girl. The residents remained mute spectators
to the ghastly act.
The Dalits are subject to humiliation, torture, rape,
social boycott, and systematic discrimination and execution.
When landless Dalits get patta (ownership deed) from the
government, the upper castes chase them away and grab their
lands under the noses of the authorities.
Adivasis, indigenous peoples
face serious human rights violations and continued to be
displaced and evicted from their traditional habitations.
There have been reports of serious violations of the rights
of the scheduled tribes by both the state and the non-state
actors. On 4 July 2004, forest officials and police reportedly
attacked the Korku tribals in Bhandarpani area in Betul
district, destroyed their properties, and forcibly evicted
them. Many were taken to undisclosed locations forcing one
Bakat Singh Korku, whose wife and six children went missing
after the raid to file a habeas corpus in the Jabalpur Bench
of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The state government failed
to implement the directions of the Supreme Court and the
Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award stating that land
should be made available to the oustees at least a year
in advance before submergence. Following the increase of
the height of Indira Sagar Dam height to 245 meters, 34,882
families residing in 120 villages in Khandwa district were
displaced and thousands were not rehabilitated.
At least 10,000 families have been under threats of submergence
and displacement without any resettlement due to increase
in the Sardar Sarovar dam height to 110 metres without rehabilitating
the already displaced persons.
Prison conditions remained deplorable. There have
been reports of deaths of several prisoners due to lack
of medical facilities and negligence of the administration.
Sexual abuses in the prisons have also been reported.
Religious minorities faced persecutions at the hands
of the fundamentalist Hindu groups.