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ANOTHER ABROGATION AWAITED

ALI SUKHANVER-----The mystery of brutal murder of 11 members of a Pakistani Hindu migrant family in India’s Jodhpur district is still unsolved. This horrible incident took place on 9th of August 2020. Most of the people in the neighborhood are of the opinion that this innocent family was murdered just because it belonged to Pakistan. Analysts are pointing their fingers to the bitter reality that the so-called secular country under Modi-led BJP government is not even safe for Hindu community and one could easily understand the miserable condition of those belonging to the minorities particularly the Muslims. According to the media details, the unfortunate Pakistani Hindu migrant family had been living on the farm in the village, which it had hired for farming. It seems that the BJP leaders have no interest in tracing out the culprits behind this cruelty because the victims had migrated from Pakistan. The deceased were from the Bhil community and had come to India some eight years ago.

History tells us that Bheels or Bhils are an Indo-Aryan speaking ethnic group residing in West India. The government of India conducted a survey in 2013 which said Bhils were the largest tribal group in India with a total population of 1.7 crore. It is also noteworthy that the Bhil community has been demanding for a separate Bhil state in India for a long time. Tribal belt of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat had been the epicenter of this separate Bhil state demand. These Bhil people want that migrant people of this community should be brought back to their original place with full dignity. These people also demand that the tribal communities should have first right on natural resources. The demanded Bhil state comprises of different districts including Dungarpur, Banswara, Pratapgarh in southern Rajasthan, Ratlam, Jhabua, Alirajpur, Dhar, Petlawad, etc. of Madhya Pradesh and  the eastern districts of Gujarat including Panchmahal, Godhra, Dahod and Dang and the northern districts of Maharashtra. The Bhil people mostly earn their living by working in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, poultry and manufacturing of handloom products but at the same time they have a very powerful understanding of changing political needs and requirements too. The Bharatiya Tribal Party is a very strong political identity of the Bhil community and it was formed in 2017. The basic reason of formation of this party was to put firmly the demand for a separate Bhil state before the state governments. This new-born party became so popular among the people that it won two seats each in Gujarat and Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.

It is being said that the 11 members of Pakistani migrated family were murdered just to kill two birds with one stone; the first purpose was to threaten those Bhils who are living in other countries and want to migrate to India to strengthen their community; the second purpose was to give tough time to the rapidly emerging Bharatiya Tribal Party. The BJP is planning to crush the Bhil Independent State movement in the same way as it had crushed the Sikh Khalistan Movement. By spreading fear of death, fear of deprivation from the land and by spreading a sense of insecurity among the Bheel community, the BJP government is simply creating hurdles in the way to their independence movement.

Maltreatment with the Bhil community in India is nothing new. In 2017 the Tribal Research and Training Institute (TRTI) run by the Gujarat government's Tribal Development Department referred to the tribal Bhil community on its official as ‘black community’. It also stated that most of the members of the Bhil community are criminals. TRTI claimed that the Bhils use mobile phones for carrying out crimes and formulating criminal strategies. Dr Gaurang Jani is a renowned scholar and a well known sociologist. He teaches at Gujarat University. Commenting upon the humiliating comments on an official website on the Bhil community, he said “In my opinion, it is a social crime to speak of Bhils or any other tribal community in this manner. This is insulting not just to the tribe; it is insulting that the government sees its own citizens this way”.

The situation with reference to humiliation of the Bhil community is still the same even in 2020. According to the NEWS 18, in January 2020, an examination was conducted by the Public Service Commission. In the reading comprehension section of the paper a paragraph was included which mentioned that the Bhil tribe members are under the grip of liquor and that the community engages in unlawful and immoral activities. Various Bhil Tribe leaders expressed their resentment on this statement and demanded a detailed inquiry into the matter. But even after six month, nothing has yet been done. The criminal silence of the BJP government shows that the Bhil community would also meet the same fate as that of the Sikhs and the Kashmiris. Let us wait for some official move from the BJP to deprive the Bhil people of their basic human rights through abrogation of some ‘Article’ like 370 or 35-A

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