On 7th September 2021, the Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre (IRAC) requested the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to intervene in the custodial death of a 35-year-old tribal man Bisan Bhil in Khargone district in Madhya Pradesh.

Bisan, a resident of Khairkundi village in Khargone district, was arrested along with eleven others on 2 September 2021 in connection to a robbery case. While eight of them were sent to jail on the same day, four, including Bisan, were sent to police remand for four days. It is alleged that police officers demanded cash and gold to release Bisan, the victim denied bribing the police officer hence the police officer had tortured Bisan.  

The tribal man was brutally beaten by the police officers. He incurred severe injuries before he died. 

The police claimed that Bisan was sent to jail on 6 September where he fell ill in the same evening and was taken to a district hospital where he died. 

However, Bisan was in police custody for four days, where he was grievously tortured and then taken to the hospital. After the medical examination doctor deemed him fit to be taken to prison and just hours after that he died. 

The photos of the post-mortem, doing rounds on social media, show major injuries on Bisan’s hips and thighs. District’s civil surgeon, Dr. Divyesh Verma said that Bisan Bhil died due to septicemia caused by at least a seven-day-old wound that led to multi-organ failure. 

Bisan is survived by five children, a wife, parents, and kin. They are left with no one to take care of them. The villagers have also protested in front of the Bistan police station accusing the police of torturing Bisan which led to his death. 

There has been a 9.3 % increase in crime against Scheduled Tribes in 2020 as per the latest National Crime Records Burea (NCRB) data. 

The cases of atrocities against tribals across the state are increasing. There have been many recent incidents in Nimawar, Neemuch, Dewas, Rewa, Morena, Balaghat, and Khargone, where tribals were assaulted and killed. 

It’s about time that strong legal actions be taken against such atrocities against tribal communities. 

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