Arrests, Intimidation, and Torture: What Life is Like for India’s Formerly “Criminal” Tribes

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Arrests, Intimidation, and Torture: What Life is Like for India’s Formerly “Criminal” Tribes

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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wo years ago, on a foggy December morning in western Uttar Pradesh’s Jhinjhana town, Dalip Kumar was about to open the shutter of his newly leased fruit juice stand, when a white Tata Sumo with a Haryana number plate screeched to a halt in front of the shop. Four policemen in civvies and one in uniform leaped out of the vehicle’s back door, dragged him inside the vehicle by the collar, and sped off, leaving his younger brother screaming on the street.

“It was an early winter morning of 2016 and very few people had reached the market. They didn’t face any struggle in picking me up,” Kumar recalls. But had there been more people around, it’s not like Kumar would’ve had an easier time. A resident of Jatan Khanpur village in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district, Kumar belongs to the Bawaria community, which is a denotified tribe (DNT).

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