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  • Madhya Pradesh

    1. Overview.. 1
    2. Violence against women. 2
    3. Violations of the rights of the Dalits. 3
    4. Violations of the rights of the tribals. 4
    5. Status of the IDPs. 5
    6. Violations of the rights of the minorities. 7


    1. Overview

    Ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, Madhya Pradesh continued to witness serious human rights violations by the security forces including the custodial death of a Dalit youth in Vidisha district town.[1]

    Women, Dalits, tribals and religious minorities continued to face atrocities and discrimination in the State. Dalit and tribal women were specifically targeted and those who sought justice faced physical violence including killings.

    In June 2006, National Commission for Minorities member Harcharan Singh Josh, who conducted an investigation into allegations of harassment of Christians in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh stated that “Bajrang Dal, VHP and Dharam Dal activists freely raid Christian homes, carry out searches and humiliate women there on the pretext of curbing proselytism. There is a total failure of administration to protect human and religious rights of Christian minorities in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh”.[2]

    Those displaced by Sardar Sarovar Project were not rehabilitated. A Sardar Sarovar Project Status Report submitted by the Union Water Resources Ministry to the Prime Minister's Office on 22 March 2006 revealed that 36,921 families from 226 villages in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra would be affected if the height of the Narmada dam was raised to 121.92 metres. This also included 28,742 Project Affected Families (PAFs) in Madhya Pradesh remained to be resettled in the State at 110.64 metres.[3]

    Prison conditions were deplorable. As of 30 April 2006, there were 30,513 prisoners, which included 29,751 males and 762 females, in the 116 prisons of the State. Of these, 16,044 prisoners representing 52.58% were under-trials, including 15,580 males and 464 females. There were 202 under-trial prisoners who had been facing trial for more than three years.[4]

    The administration of justice continued to be plagued by judicial delay. By the end of December 2006, there were only 39 judges against the sanctioned strength of 42 judges in the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The State Government also failed to appoint judges to 157 vacancies in the District and Sub-ordinate Courts in the State as on 30th September 2006. There were a total of 1,82,279 cases pending before the High Court while a staggering 9,79,999 cases were pending before the District and Sub-ordinate Courts as on 30th September 2006.[5] 

    On 21 July 2006, the Madhya Pradesh Government presented the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the recommendations of the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission (MPHRC) during 2004-2005 in the State Assembly. According to the ATR, the State Government had taken action fully on 12 recommendations and partially on nine others recommendations of the MPHRC during 2004-05 out of the total 29 recommendations. In most of the 21 cases, action had been taken against police officials concerned.[6]

    2. Violence against women

    Women continued to face violence especially because of evil social practices. On 24 September 2006, the police arrested two more persons on charges of murder and instigating 95-year-old Kuria Devi to commit Sati in her husband Siyaram Rajput's pyre on 20 September 2006 at Baniyani village near Chhatarpur. Ten persons, including four sons of Kuria Devi, were earlier arrested on the same charges. Hundreds of villagers assembled on the “Sati” spot to glorify the act of Sati but the police did not allow to perform any ritual near the funeral site.[7]

    In a glaring case of “honour killing”, on 15 January 2006, a teenaged Muslim girl identified as Varsha Khan was allegedly burnt alive by her parents and relatives in order to save the “honour” of the family as the victim had fallen in love with a Hindu man identified as Raghuvir Sharma in Bhind district. According to the police, following discovery of the love affair, Varsha Khan was sent to her maternal uncle in Bhind where her grand maternal uncle Nazeer and maternal uncles Kallu and Kauf in connivance with Varsha Khan's mother Guddu Bai allegedly doused Varsha Khan with petrol and set on fire. Earlier Varsha Khan's parents and relatives had allegedly killed Raghuvir Sharma in Jaura town, Morena on 13 January 2006. The police arrested Varsha Khan's father, Hassan Khan and two of his relatives on the charges of killing Raghuvir.[8]

    3. Violations of the rights of the Dalits

    The Dalits continued to face atrocities and discrimination in Madhya Pradesh because of their caste. Women were specific targets. The National Crime Records Bureau recorded 4,356 cases of atrocities against Dalits in 2005 including 96 murders, 340 rape cases, 38 arsons and 344 cases under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act etc.

    On 1 June 2006, two Dalit sisters of Pipariya town in Hoshangabad district lodged a complaint with the Madhya Pradesh State Women's Commission (SWC) alleging that the upper caste villagers were torturing them for refusing to enter into prostitution. According to the complainants, some upper caste villagers ransacked their house, tore their clothes, beat them up and threatened to kill their brothers on 12 May 2006. Prior to approaching the SWC, the victims had lodged a complaint with the local police but the police failed to take action against the culprits.[9]

    Humiliation of the Dalit women was common. On 17 June 2006, a Dalit woman sarpanch (village head) identified as Indira Kushwah of Mahoikala village in Chattarpur district was beaten up, stripped and then paraded naked in the village by the upper caste men of the village led by Lakhan Shukla and Santosh Shukla for refusing to pay them Rs 50,000 from the village development fund. The police reportedly refused to lodge a First Information Report (FIR) despite repeated requests from the victim. The FIR could be lodged four days after the incident following the intervention of a Member of Legislative Assembly. On 22 June 2006, National Commission for Women asked the Madhya Pradesh Government to conduct a probe into the incident and submit a report within a week.[10] On 23 June 2006, the police arrested seven upper caste men whose names were mentioned in the FIR by the victim but the police claimed that the victim was not stripped.[11]

    On 10 September 2006, a 40-year-old Dalit woman was allegedly stripped in public and raped by three persons belonging to upper caste Gurjar community over a land dispute at Lohabasai village in Morena district. A complaint was registered against Tarjan Singh Gurjar, Vetal Singh Gurjar and Jagdish Gurjar.[12]

    On the night of 22 November 2006, a 16-year-old Dalit girl was reportedly burnt to death by an upper caste youth identified as Chhote Singh Rajput at Sahalwada village under Piparia Development Block near Hoshangabad after she refused to withdraw a complaint of rape against him. The accused was arrested and a case of murder was registered against him.[13]

    Whenever the Dalits dared to seek justice, they were meted out heinous atrocities. On 13 June 2006, two youth identified as Shyam and Bali, belonging to lower caste Angri Lohar community, who were witnesses to the gruesome murder of three women of a family by a mob in September 2004, were killed by a mob in Khapa Katheda village in Betul district. The victims had reportedly refused to change their statements in the court on 6 June 2006 and identified the accused in the 2004 crime.[14]

    4. Violations of the rights of the tribals

    Tribals whose population is 122.33 lakh constitute 20.27% of the total population of Madhya Pradesh (603.85 Lakh), according to the 2001 census. There were 46 recognized Scheduled Tribes and three of them have been identified as “Special Primitive Tribal Groups” in the State.[15] The National Crime Records Bureau recorded 1,615 cases of atrocity against tribals in the State in 2005. These included 48 murder cases, 294 rape cases, 15 arson cases and 252 cases under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act etc.

    In January 2006, the Department for International Development, United Kingdom reportedly granted Rs 115 crore to Madhya Pradesh for “Livelihoods Project” for the development of tribal villages. The Government of Madhya Pradesh identified 892 backward tribal villages in nine districts of Jhabua, Dhar, Badwani, Mandla, Dindori, Anupur, Shahdol, Sheopur and Shivpuri for the projects.[16]

    Tribal women were specifically targeted by upper caste persons. On 23 May 2006, a tribal woman identified as Munni Bai was allegedly manhandled and paraded naked by three persons identified as Hiralal, Sitaram and Rajesh at Raipura village under Kasravad tehsil in Khargone district. The police arrested two of the accused.[17]

    On 21 August 2006, four tribal women were reportedly stripped by a group of upper caste youth at Bhevad in Punchi hills under Shivpuri district. Two of the accused identified as Mukesh Rawat and Raghuvir Rawat were arrested on 30 August 2006.[18]

    On 30 September 2006, a tribal woman[19] identified as Fulvatibai belonging to Korku tribe was allegedly beaten up, stripped and paraded half-naked with a garland of shoes around her neck at Dedgaon village in Harda district at the orders of the village panchayat. The villagers had found a tribal girl and an upper caste boy in a compromising position inside the house of Fulvatibai. The victim told the village panchayat that the upper caste boy and the tribal girl entered her house in her absence but the village panchayat wanted the victim to give false statement to the police that she had invited the girl to her house and locked her in so as to save the “honour” of the girl.[20] Later the victim, Fulvatibai, was charged with abetting rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.[21]

    In November 2006, Madhya Pradesh Forest Minister Himmat Kothari assured the State Assembly that no Dalit or tribal would be forcibly evicted from forest land without proper examination of records. Several hectares of land in Madhya Pradesh were under dispute between the forest department and the revenue department. According to Vanshmani Prasad Verma of Samajwadi Party a serious problem of eviction of tribals had developed due to dispute between revenue and forest land departments. The State Government had in 2004 directed that the dispute be resolved at the earliest but it failed to do so, making the residents of the disputed lands, mostly the tribals and the Dalits, vulnerable to eviction by one department or the other.[22]

    Whenever the tribals sought justice, they were meted out atrocities. A tribal woman Ms Kamlabai, whose right hand was chopped off by her alleged rapists at Ningri village in Raisen District in December 2005, alleged in February 2006 that she was being pressurized by the State Police and the State Commission for Women to withdraw her case. She told journalists that the local police had picked up her husband Prakash and tortured him to confess that he had chopped off his wife Kamlabai's hand. On 24 February 2006, the victim along with a delegation from the women's organisation All India Democratic Women's Association met Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil to complain about the “inaction of the State Government”. The Ministry of Home Affairs of the government of India reportedly sought a reply from the Madhya Pradesh Police within seven days.[23]

    5. Status of the IDPs

    The displacement and non-rehabilitation of thousands of families displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Project, which is the largest amongst the 30 large dams being built on the river Narmada, explains India's ills with development. The Narmada Control Authority (NCA) claimed that all the 32,600 Project Affected Families (PAFs) from 228 villages to be displaced by the Sardar Sarovar dam at height of 121.92 metres in Madhya Pradesh (24,421 PAFs from 177 villages), Gujarat (4,726 PAFs from 19 villages) and Maharashtra (3,453 PAFs from 32 villages) had been fully resettled by the respective State Governments.[24] 

    On 8 March 2006, NCA gave permission to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam from 110.64 metres to 121.92 metres. The Narmada Bachao Andolan protested against the decision of the NCA, saying about 35,000 displaced families between the heights of 110.64 and 121.92 metres remained to be rehabilitated.[25]

    A Sardar Sarovar Project Status Report submitted by the Union Water Resources Ministry to the Prime Minister's Office on 22 March 2006 revealed that 36,921 families from 226 villages in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra would be affected if the height of the Narmada dam was raised to 121.92 metres. This included 4,726 PAFs in Gujarat, 3,453 PAFs in Maharashtra and 28,742 PAFs in Madhya Pradesh. The report stated that 13,233 PAFs remained to be resettled in Madhya Pradesh at 110.64 metres. Accrording to the report, Gujarat had spent only Rs. 10,918 crore till December 2005 on rehabilitation. However, the Centre in its application filed in the Supreme Court on 17 April 2006 claimed that all the affected families up to the height of 121.92 metres were resettled in the three States.[26]

    On 17 April 2006, the Supreme Court allowed the raising of the height of the Narmada dam to 121.92 meters as approved by the Narmanda Cantrol Authority (NCA) on 8 March 2006. However, the Supreme Court also warned that it would stop the construction work if the PAFs were not properly rehabilitated.[27]

    Following the Supreme Court's ruling, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh constituted a three-member Group of Ministers (GoM) consisting Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz, Minister for Social Justice and Employment Meira Kumar and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chauhan which visited some of the rehabilitation sites and submergence villages in Madhya Pradesh from 6-7 April 2006. In its report submitted to the Prime Minister on 9 April 2006, the GoM exposed the tall claims made by the State Government of Madhya Pradesh on resettlement and rehabilitation of the dam oustees.[28]

    The GoM's “confidential” report titled “A Brief Note on the Assessment of Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Sites and Submergence of Villages of the Sardar Sarovar Project” exposed the absolute lack of resettlement and rehabilitation of the Project Affected Families. It stated that the reports of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Sub Group, and the Grievance Redressal Committee on the basis of which Narmada Control Authority granted permission for raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Project from 110.64 metres to 121.92 metres “has been largely paperwork and it has no relevance with the situation on the ground”. The Government of Madhya Pradesh admitted before the GoM that the rehabilitation and resettlement of the PAFs was likely to be completed only by 30 June 2006. This was in contrary to the earlier claims of the State Government that all the PAFs had been resettled. The State Government claimed to have offered land to 407 families at Khalghat but the GoM found that only two PAFs had accepted land. The land offered to the PAFs was not suitable for cultivation. The oustees were forced to accept cash compensation. They alleged that they had to pay a bribe of Rs. 20,000 to the officials on receipt of every cheque and Rs. 100,000 was deducted as “income tax” on every unit of Rs. 10 lakh paid as compensation for purchase of land. The Government of Madhya Pradesh claimed to have resettled 4,000 PAFs at Dharampuri but the GoM found that “Not a single plot of land has been occupied by any PAF”. The site had no sanitation, no drinking water facilities, system of sewage, roads, hospital, water reservoir, school or a post office. At Lakhangaon, Borlai 1st, 2nd and 3rd, the State Government claimed to have resettled 18,965 PAFs but the GoM found only “some stray dwellings without any infrastructure such as drinking water, sewage system, electricity and roads etc”. Not a single PAF had been offered cultivable agricultural land at Piplud. The oustees were forced to accept cash compensation, which was too small even to purchase 2 acres of land while the oustees were entitled to receive 5 acres of land as compensation. They had to bribe the officials to get their cheques. Even at Awalda, the oustees had been pressurized to accept cash compensation and they had to bribe the officials. The State Government claimed to have resettled 700 PAFs at Nisarpur but not a single PAF had been resettled there.[29]

    In order to re-write the report of the GoM of his own cabinet, the Prime Minister in April 2006 set up a three-member Sardar Sarovar Project Relief and Rehabilitation Oversight Group (OSG) headed by former Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, V.K. Shunglu to look into the status of rehabilitation of PAFs in Madhya Pradesh.[30] On 3 July 2006, the Oversight Group submitted its report to the Prime Minister.[31] Surprisingly, the OSG found no major discrepancy in the Action Taken Report (ATR) of the Madhya Pradesh Government on the status of rehabilitation of PAFs. The OSG also defended cash compensation under the Special Rehabilitation Package. The OSG euphemistically held that the lack of relief and rehabilitation and other deficiencies in most sites can be removed during the current financial year by developing uneven plots and proper maintenance and repair of roads and buildings etc.[32] These tasks, which appeared quite simple to the OSG, had not been done by the authorities in the last two decades.

    Based on the findings of the OSG, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh submitted to the Supreme Court that it would not be appropriate to pass any direction or orders at this stage stopping the construction of the dam. Following the Prime Minister's submission, on 10 July 2006 the Supreme Court declined to stop the construction of the Sardar Sarovar project and allowed raising its height evenly up to 119 meters in all blocks.[33]

    The Sardar Sarovar dam height was raised up to 121.92 metres in Gujarat by the end of December 2006.[34]

    6. Violations of the rights of the minorities

    Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act prohibits anybody campaigning about his or her religion or organising religious functions without prior permission from the District Collector. On 14 April 2006, two Christian women identified as Mariamma Mathew and B Godwil were arrested under Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act after they were allegedly found distributing pamphlets telling people how they could overcome their problems by following the Bible and converting people in Jabalpur.[35]

    Those who converted into Christianity were targeted. On 19 June 2006, National Commission for Minorities member Harcharan Singh Josh, who conducted an investigation into allegations of harassment of Christians in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, stated that Christians were not safe in these two states. He stated that “Bajrang Dal, VHP and Dharam Dal activists freely raid Christian homes, carry out searches and humiliate women there on the pretext of curbing proselytism. There is a total failure of administration to protect human and religious rights of Christian minorities in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.”[36] The police allegedly did not record the complaints of atrocities by the fundamentalist groups. On the other hands, the members of the minority communities were beaten up and arrested arbitrarily by the police.[37]

    On 31 May 2006, two tribal women of Nadia village in Khargone district filed a complaint alleging gangrape by activists of Bajrang Dal on the night of 28 May 2006. However, a counter FIR was filed with the Bhagwanpura police against the two women and their husbands under Section 3(4) of the Freedom of Religion Act, 1968 on 1 June 2006.[38] The victims accused Khargone Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Dal Singh Solanki of instigating his men to rape them. According to Indira Iyengar, a member of the Madhya Pradesh State Minority Commission, MLA Dal Singh Solanki had been threatening the Christians that they would be falsely implicated in conversion cases. The police had allegedly ill-treated the rape victims instead of taking prompt action against the accused. However, the Bajrang Dal rejected the allegations. On 5 June 2006, the activists of Bajrang Dal stormed the venue of the press conference to prevent the “victims” from speaking to the media in Bhopal and threatened activist Indira Iyengar.[39]

    On 15 June 2006, a church was vandalized allegedly by activists of the Hindu Dharma Sena in Jabalpur on the charges that poor tribals from Mandla and Dindori districts were being converted by giving money.[40]


    [1]. Custody death issue rocks Assembly, The Central Chronicle, 8 March 2006

    [2]. 'Christians not safe in MP, Chhattisgarh', The Indian Express, 20 June 2006

    [3]. Narmada: Union Ministry report nails claims on rehabilitation, The Hindu, 29 April 2006, http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/29/stories/2006042918591700.htm

    [4]. Prison statistics of the Jail department of the Government of Madhya Pradesh as of 30 April 2006, http://www.jail.mp.gov.in/english/statistics.htm

    [5]. Court News, October-December 2006, Supreme Court of India

    [6]. Action on HR panel recommendations, The Central Chronicle, 22 July 2006 

    [7]. Police presence deters sati crowd, The Asian Age, 25 September 2006 

    [8]. Varsha Khan's parents kill her, lover in 'honour killings', The Pioneer, 18 January 2006

    [9]. Dalit girls tortured by villagers in MP, The Deccan Herald, 2 June 2006

    [10]. Dalit sarpanch paraded naked in MP village, The Times of India, 23 June 2006 

    [11]. 7 held for 'stripping' Dalit sarpanch, The Times of India, 24 June 2006 

    [12]. Dalit woman raped in Morena, The Central Chronicle, 12 September 2006 

    [13]. Dalit girl burnt to death by man accused of rape, The Kashmir Times, 24 November 2006

    [14]. Two witnesses killed in MP for refusing to lie, The Indian Express, 18 June 2006 

    [15]. Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribe Welfare Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, http://www.mp.nic.in/tribal/ 

    [16]. UK grants Rs 115 cr to develop tribal villages in MP, The Pioneer, 25 January 2006 

    [17]. ST woman paraded naked, The Central Chronicle, 2 June 2006 

    [18]. Youths strip four tribal women, two arrested, The Times of India, 30 August 2006 

    [19]. Woman paraded naked in MP, The Deccan Herald, 5 October 2006 

    [20]. Dalit paraded half-naked for 'not toeing' Panchayat line, The Indian Express, 5 October 2006 

    [21]. Woman paraded naked for 'rape', The Telegraph, 14 October 2006 

    [22]. Govt won't evict Dalits, tribals from forest land soon: Himmat, The Daily Pioneer, 8 November 2006

    [23]. Another victim bringsher fight to Delhi, The Pioneer, 26 February 2006

    [24]. http://nca.gov.in/rnr_pafs.htm

    [25]. Narmada: Union Ministry report nails claims on rehabilitation, The Hindu, 29 April 2006 

    [26]. Narmada: Union Ministry report nails claims on rehabilitation, The Hindu, 29 April 2006, http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/29/stories/2006042918591700.htm

    [27]. Supreme Court: No work on dam if no rehab, The Asian Age, 18 April 2006 

    [28]. Rehabilitation work shown only on paper: GoM report, The Hindu, 17 April 2006 

    [29]. "GoM's confidential report", The Hindu on 17 April 2006 

    [30]. PM sets up dam rehab panel, The Asian Age, 25 April 2006 

    [31]. Deficiencies found in resettling Narmada families, The Hindu, 4 July 2006 

    [32]. PM panel found no major discrepancy in MP report on rehab, The Indian Express, 11 July 2006

    [33]. SC no to stopping work on Sardar Sarovar dam, The Tribune, 11 July 2006

    [34]. And finally, the Narmada dam reaches the desired height, The Indian Express, 29 December 2006

    [35]. Christian women held for conversion in MP, The Central Chronicle, 17 April 2006 

    [36]. 'Christians not safe in MP, Chhattisgarh', The Indian Express, 20 June 2006

    [37]. Tribal women raped in Madhya Pradesh, ANI, 5 June 2006 

    [38]. Christians' gangrape complaint caught in conversion row, The Indian Express, 16 June 2006

    [39]. Bajrang Dal gags rape saga - Cadre storm press meet, The Hindustan Times, 6 June 2006

    [40]. Christians' gangrape complaint caught in conversion row, The Indian Express, 16 June 2006

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