A video showing a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) urinating on an indigenous worker in the state of Madhya Pradesh went viral on Tuesday, sparking social media outrage and prompting the arrest of the man featured in the clip.
The video shows a drunken man puffing on a cigarette and peeing in the face of a young man seated on the side of the road. According to local media, the incident occurred ten days ago in the village of Kubri, although some other reports say the video was recorded up to two months ago.
About a fifth of Madhya Pradesh’s population are members of a half-dozen “scheduled tribes.” These tribals are among the lowest-ranked in India’s caste system and face constant abuse.
The man urinating has been identified as Pravesh Shukla, allegedly a member of the BJP party and an associate of sitting members of the legislature, although BJP officials denied these connections. Madhya Pradesh is a BJP political stronghold.
Outraged reactions quickly flooded social media, as opposition politicians called for stern action against Shukla. The controversy heated up quickly because Madhya Pradesh is scheduled to hold legislative elections in November.
Abbas Hafeez, a spokesman for the opposition India National Congress party (INC), eagerly showed reporters photos of Shukla in the company of BJP politicians.
Hafeez sneered that “pissing on a tribal poor person like this” was a “very condemnable act” of hypocrisy because BJP claims to “love” tribal folk.
Shukla’s father admitted he was a “representative” of legislator Kedarnath Shukla but claimed he was being “targeted by the opposition” for political reasons and would be vindicated by a thorough investigation.
“I know him because he is from my constituency, but he is not my representative or a BJP worker,” Kedarnath Shukla responded.
“The person named Pravesh Shukla has nothing to do with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Bharatiya Janata Party will always oppose every heinous act that will be done against the tribal society. BJP MP demands the strictest action against this person,” BJP media coordinator Ashish Agarwal exclaimed on Twitter.
BJP President Vishnu Dutt on Tuesday implicitly conceded Shukla was a party member but said he has “absolutely” been ejected from BJP.
The leader of the INC party, Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday, said the “inhuman act” captured in the video was an example of increasing “atrocities on tribal brothers and sisters” under the BJP government.
“The entire humanity has been put to shame by the inhuman crime of a BJP leader in Madhya Pradesh. This is the disgusting face and real character of BJP’s hatred towards tribals and Dalits,” Gandhi said. The Dalits are a long-persecuted ethnic minority in India.read more