A video grab of Pravesh Shukla, an Indian political worker who was arrested by the police after a video showing him urinating on a local tribal man in central Madhya Pradesh state went viral on social media on June 4. (Photo: zeenews.india)
Police in a central Indian state have arrested a worker of the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after a video showing him urinating on a local tribal man went viral on social media.
Pravesh Shukla was arrested on July 5. He is said to be an aide of the local BJP legislator Kedarnath Shukla, who represents Sidhi Legislative Assembly in Madhya Pradesh state.
“I am speechless, I have no words to express after watching this video on social media,” Father Nicholas Barla, secretary of the Indian Catholic bishops’ Commission for Tribal Affairs told UCA News on July 5.
"It is an inhuman act and we should all condemn it. No one in this world will accept such an act," he added.
Barla demanded a proper investigation into the incident and the crime will be punished.
“Let’s wait for the authorities to do their job sincerely. But I am afraid [there will be no investigation] since he [Shukla] belongs to the ruling party in the state,” the priest said.
Local media reports said Shukla was in an inebriated state when he encountered a tribal man at a market, who was identified as Dashmat Rawat.When Rawat approached him to request his unpaid wages, Shukla physically assaulted him and then urinated on him.
There was no information about when the incident occurred, but the video depicting the act was shared widely on social media on July 4, triggering widespread condemnation.
Mukti Prakash Tirkey, a journalist and rights activist in the national capital New Delhi, said the incident showed “there is no fear of law among the people when it came to committing atrocities against the marginalized sections of society.”
Meanwhile, an official from the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister's office said a case was registered against Shukla for the obscene act and intentional insult.
Strict action will also be taken against Shukla, he added.
Anjulata Patel, a senior police official told media that the police are questioning Shukla.
State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in a tweet on July 4 said: ''A viral video from Sidhi district has come to my notice...I have instructed the administration to arrest the culprit and take the strictest action and also invoke the National Security Act.''
Kamal Nath, a former chief minister from the opposition Congress party, expressed outrage and called for severe punishment for the culprit and an “end to atrocities” against tribals in Madhya Pradesh.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Naresh Balyan called Pravesh Shukla a ‘devil’.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report released in August last year said crimes against tribal people were on the rise across the country.
Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of atrocities against tribal people, accounting for 29.8 percent of the total reported crimes in 2021.
A total of 12,159 cases of atrocities against tribal people were pending investigation while 42,512 cases came for trial in court that year, the NCRB report said.