Co-Written by Sandeep Pandey and Kushagra Kumar
The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has now on numerous occasions claimed that the state has been rid of criminals, who have either been killed in the 125 encounter deaths that have taken place or they have got their bails cancelled and gone back to jails after he took over the reins as CM . However, a look at daily newspapers for the last few months will reveal that there is a serious crime taking place almost every single day. Rape followed by murder is becoming such a common phenomena that UP is being labeled as a rape capital. So, what is really going on?
Yogi Adityanath knows only one way of controlling law and order and that is by using brute force and intimidation. He described it as ‘thok do’ policy, that is, delivering summary justice by elimination of criminals. However, the impact seems to have been quite the opposite. The criminals appear to have no fear left considering the frequency of crimes being committed in UP. Unusual incidents like hijacking of a bus for ransom have taken place.
Yogi Adityanath government withdrew cases against him, which numbered 16 when he became the CM with serious charges as attempt to murder, criminal intimidation and rioting, and got a co-petitioner against him in a 2007 hate speech case, lodged after the intervention of High Court, Pervez Parvaz convicted in a gang rape case and sentenced to life imprisonment. Clearly actions of Yogi Adityanath are politically motivated. And that is the basic problem. His government demonstrates amazing alacrity in registering cases against political opponents. Number of false cases were registered against activists and common people in the name of having participated in violence during anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens which included Advocate Mohammad Shoaib and retired Indian Police Service officer S.R. Darapuri both of whom were under house arrest when the violence occurred. The UP government, even before their crime was proved in a court of law, sent notices for recovery for the damages during violence and put up photographs of the accused on hoardings at prominent places in Lucknow. Blatant misuse of police and state machinery to achieve his political and personal agenda made it obvious that he was not serious about improving the law and order situation but merely in using it for political vendetta.
This had two effects. One, the criminals were emboldened. They knew that because the actions of the government were politically motivated they would get away with crimes only by pulling the right strings. Especially, the criminals with upper caste background have a field day. They believe that it is ‘their’ government after a long rule of Other Backward Classes and Scheduled Caste leaders and are taking full advantage of it. Whether it is the accused in the gruesome Hathras rape and murder case or the daylight killing in Ballia in a dispute over election to a Fair Price Shop ownership in the presence of Sub Divisional Magistrate and Circle Officer, the administration and government brazenly came out appearing to be in support of the perpetrators of crimes.
Second, the police, having realized that so long as they toe the line of the government nothing will happen to them, have also been emboldened to take law into their hands. Burning the dead body of Hathras rape victim in wee hours preventing the participation of girl’s family is an example. Another example is Mahoba Superintendent of Police who was allegedly involved in extortion from mining businessmen and had openly threatened a businessman who was not complying with his demands. After the businessman Indrakant Tripathi was killed the SP has gone underground and is inaccessible to Special Investigation Team appointed by the state government. A youth was arrested by UP police from all the way in his village in Odisha for sending tweets against the CM and Prime Minister. It is incredible that UP police is not able trace its own officer for investigation. What can be a better example than this of lawlessness prevailing in UP?
Hence Yogi Adityanath may be right is saying that criminals have been eliminated or are in jail but that is only one part of the story. Now it is the state machinery which is perpetrating the crime directly or patronizing criminals aligned with the ruling party. Favoured criminals and police both have created a situation of disorder in UP and the government or CM don’t seem to have a clue to gain control over the situation.
Yogi must realize that the only way law and order can be established is by following the rule of law, even though it may be time consuming, and by being just and fair. Arbitrariness and highhandedness will only lead to anarchy as is happening today. Political abuse of the machinery can never set things right. The shortsighted and sectarian world view of CM prevents him from seeing that his approach is the source of problem. But instead of taking a corrective step he seems to be doing more of the same mistake. The UP government has announced the formation of Special Security Force with powers to search or arrest without warrant or order of a magistrate. What Yogi Adityanath wants is more power to persecute people but without any accountability. However, with his penchant to go after political opponents, such draconian measures, as the history of such laws as demonstrated, will be misused and will fail to deliver the objective for which they are being instituted – to improve the law and order situation.
A most recent example of how UP government has got its priorities all mixed up is the case filed against well know peace and communal harmony activist Faisal Khan accusing him of trying to disturb amity because he performed namaz in a temple in Mathura. The police has just chosen to selectively focus on the namaz action overlooking his 84 kos parikrama of Brij, reciting verses of Ramcharitmanas in the temple and accepting prasad and blessings from the priest, all in a very congenial atmosphere. The police went from Mathura to arrest Faisal from his Delhi residence where he has also built a Sabka Ghar, a commune dedicated to victims of discriminatory violence. Among other things, Faisal has been honoured by Muraru Bapu in Mahua, Gujarat, has undertook a foot march from Delhi to Haridwar is support of saints fasting for conservation of Ganga and is on the Trustee Board of Sarva Dharm Sadhbhav Trust in Ayodhya meant to create a all faith harmony centre there. This also proves that UP government has lost the ability to distinguish right from the wrong.
As the CM refuses to budge from this chosen path, now a well recognized trait of Bhartiya Janata Party politicians, his state hurtles towards more anarchy.
Sandeep Pandey is Vice President of Socialist Party (India) and Kushagra Kumar is a student.
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