Bhopal: The US State department report on human right has referred to five cases in Madhya Pradesh, including the alleged encounter of eight suspected SIMI operatives and the famous Vyapam scam in the state.
The report on Human Rights Practices for 2016 for India also referred to cow vigilantism in MP’s Mandsaur, a custodial death and “highest untouchability practices” in the state.
SIMI encounter is mentioned on the page 3 of the report under the heading “Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings”.
It says on October 31, Madhya Pradesh police “reportedly killed eight suspected members of the outlawed Students’ Islamic Movement of India”, after they allegedly murdered a prison guard and escaped from the high-security Central Jail of Bhopal. “On November 1, the NHRC issued a formal complaint against the state government, police, and prison authorities, expressing concern about deaths. The Madhya Pradesh police appointed a special investigation team to investigate the killings”, it says.
Under the same section it also talks about an alleged custodial death in the state. The report says “On April 9, 20-year-old Sunil Yadav was found dead in Umri police station in Madhya Pradesh, four days after his arrest on charges of theft. Madhya Pradesh police suspended four police personnel and ordered a judicial inquiry”.
The report talks about famous Vyapam scam under the section “Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government”.
The report says in July 2015 the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to take over a Madhya Pradesh state government investigation of fraud within the Professional Examination Board (Vyapam), a state government body that conducts school entrance and government service exams.
“Arrests in the case since the investigation began in 2013 included more than 2,000 individuals. In August the CBI registered a complaint against 60 individuals and filed charges against a student candidate and an impersonator. The Madhya Pradesh High Court granted bail to some of the accused. The CBI was also investigating the deaths of 48 individuals over the span of five years, including a journalist, who reported on the fraud”, it says.
Under the heading of ‘education’, the report while citing a report of NGO Pratham, said in states like Madhya Pradesh and few others, attendance was less than 60 percent. “Girls between ages 11 and 14 were most frequently not enrolled”, it adds.
Stressing that the discrimination based on caste remained prevalent particularly in rural areas, the report says, “According to a 2014 survey by the Indian National Council of Applied Economic Research and the University of Maryland, 27 percent of Indian households practice caste-based untouchability, with the highest untouchability practices found in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh”.
Referring to cow vigilantism in MP, the report says that “on July 26, a video uploaded by an eyewitness purportedly showed cow protection vigilantes beating two Muslim women outside a railway station in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, as police watched from a distance. The police reportedly later arrested the women for beef possession. Although the meat was later determined to be buffalo, a local court charged the women with unlawful possession of meat and released them on bail on June 27. Police later arrested the two men accused of assaulting the women”.