Bhopal: Barely a fortnight after a dalit man consumed poison, while trying to protect his crops from the police who were on an anti-encroachment drive in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna and another couple were beaten up, a 45-year-old woman attempted to self immolate in Dewas district after a similar drive was carried out through her farm.
The victim Shabra Bi, 45, resident of Atwas under Satwas police station, about 55 km from the district headquarters, has sustained 20% burns and was referred to a hospital in Indore where her condition is stable, said police.
The incident which occurred on July 28, came to light on Thursday, July 30, after a video went viral on social media. In the video, a woman is seen setting herself ablaze in front of a team of government personnel while a JCB is seen destroying the crop in her farm.
Commenting over the incident, Dewas collector Chandramauli Shukla said, “A joint team of Revenue Department and police went to clear the land for the construction of a road in the village after both the parties have agreed upon the court’s decision,” he said, adding that when the team went to carry out the duty, a family begun to protest. In the meantime, a woman set herself on fire and her family members pelted stones on the Revenue Department team.
Also read: MP: Days After Guna, Upper Caste Men Attack Dalits over Land Dispute in Neighbouring Shivpuri
He further said, “There was a dispute for the construction of a road in the village. And no one had agreed to give their lands. But, after hearing the application, the Satwas Tehsil court reached an agreement following a meeting with the villagers. And to clear the land for the construction of the road, the team went to the village.”
Shabri’s husband, Ramzan Khan, alleged that the authorities ignored their request to stop the encroachment. “A joint team of revenue and police departments came with a JCB machine to uproot the soybean crop. Despite our several requests, they turned down our pleas," Ramzan said.
“We are very poor and solely depend upon this crop which was being cultivated on a 2-bigha land. The team of government personnel beat us up and pushed her. I don’t know from where she (Shabri) got kerosene from and doused herself in it. Before we realised anything, she had set fire to herself,” Khan added.
Meanwhile, three officers, including two Patwaris, Kishore Chavare, Dilip Jat and revenue inspector Rajendra Dhurve – were injured in the attack and rushed to a hospital for primary treatment. They were discharged soon after, police said.
ASP Jagdish Dawar said, “The woman who had attempted self immolation sustained injuries and has been referred to the hospital. A case has been registered against 11 persons, including the woman, under sections 147, 353, 332, 294 and 506 of the IPC for creating obstacles in government work and attacking the Revenue and police team.”
Memo from Patwaris
Meanwhile, members of the Madhya Pradesh Patwari Sangh submitted a memorandum to tehsildar Dr Priyanka Chaurasiya. They addressed it to the district collector demanding immediate arrest of miscreants who attacked the revenue department team.
As the matter came to light, the Opposition Congress launched an attack on the ruling government and it's functioning. Going a step further, state Congress chief Kamal Nath has formed a team of two leaders who will visit the village and prepare the detailed report of the incident. Former Minister Sajjan Singh Verma and party leader Ajeeta Bajpai have been assigned for it.