Murders, violence on rise as central India battles for water

    by Shuriah Niazi, Thomson Reuters Foundation
    Thursday, 30 June 2016 10:43 BST

A village girl carries empty containers to collect drinking water near Chilla village in the Bundelkhand region of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh May 5, 2008. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

As northern and central India continue to suffer thorough severe drought and oppressive heat, police in the drought-hit Indian region of Bundelkhand and several other regions are reporting a rise in violent - and often deadly - clashes over water.

After almost 10 years of below-average rainfall and several consecutive years of drought, the region's rivers, lakes, reservoirs and wells are drying up.

Disputes are a common problem in many places in India that face water shortages. But Indian police report that the fighting is getting more frequent and bloody. In many parts of the country, neighbours, friends and family are turning on each other, desperate to protect what little water they have left, police records suggest.

Last month, in the tribal-dominated Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh, 13-year-old Surmada, her brother and her uncle used a neighbour's hand-pump, without permission, to get water for the family's houseguests.

According to police, the owner of the pump and his son attacked the group with arrows. One pierced Surmada's eye, killing her.

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