One would wonder why after such a show of triumphalism at the foundation laying ceremony of grand Ram temple on 5th August in Ayodhya the Uttar Pradesh government would stoop so low to put a lock outside the Aam Admi Party office in Lucknow. What makes it feel insecure?
After all, AAP is an outsider in UP politics. The UP government seems to have been unsettled by comments made by AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh who has described the absence of President Ram Nath Kovind from the foundation laying ceremony for Ram temple in Ayodhya as Bhartiya Janata Party’s anti-Dalit character. Because of this he was complimented by Dalit and Other Backward Caste leaders.
Leader of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, representing the OBC Rajbhar community, which was in alliance with BJP during Narendra Modi’s first term as Prime Minister, Om Prakash Rajbhar even gave an indication of a future alliance of his party with AAP. Sanjay Singh also said that there was anarchy in the state. Police has no control over criminals and the government has lost control over the police. What seems to have rattled the UP government most was its description as a pro-Thakur government by Sanjay Singh. Incidentally, both Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Sanjay Singh belong to this caste.
If we consider the incidents in state over recent past, and this is post Yogi government’s grand pronouncements after over a hundred criminals were eliminated in encounters that all criminals were either dead or in jail for fear of police, abduction of Sanjit Yadav on 22 June in Kanpur, payment of Rs. 30 lakhs as ransom by his relatives to abductors in the presence of police but his murder even before this payment was made and throwing his body in Pandu river; killing of 8 policemen on 3 July by dreaded Vikas Dubey and then killing of Vikas Dubey on 11 July and 6 of his colleagues in encounters with police; on 6 August a six years old girl was kidnapped and raped in Hapur who is now undergoing treatment in Meerut; on 7 August when after a 16 years old girl was molested by nephew Anup Yadav of her landlady and she went to register complaint at Govind Nagar police station in Kanpur she was asked by inspector Anurag Mishra to dance before him before he registered a complaint; Mukhtar Ansari’s shooter Rakesh Pandey was gunned down in Lucknow on 9 August described as an accused in BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai’s murder case in which he was already acquitted by court; death of Sudiksha Bhati, student from United States who had returned home in Bulandshahar due to lockdown, on 10 August after an alleged incident of harassment as she fell from a motorcycle in Greater Noida; murder of former BJP president of district Bagpat Sanjay Khokhar on 11 August when he was on morning walk; slapping of SHO of Gonda Police Station in Aligarh by BJP MLA Rajkumar Sahyogi after he entered the police station with his supporters and ensuing scuffle after which the SHO was suspended and SP, Rural was transferred under the pressure of BJP MP Satish Gautam; murder of 12 years old Kartik on 13 August of Umarpur village in district Shamli and his naked body found in a field; on 14 August body of 13 years old girl found in a field in Pakariya village of Lakhimpur Khiri after rape and murder; on the same day a 17 years old girl was kidnapped, raped and give cigarette burns by two men in Gorakhpur; on 14 August itself muder of Dalit Gram Pradhan Pappu Ram of Basgaon village in Azamgarh by upper caste men and then an 8 year old boy crushed to death by a police jeep in the ensuing melee; Advocate Rajeshwar Pandey murdered on 16 August in rural Gorakhpur by his relative in a land dispute and the same day Dayashankar Mishra and son Anand lynched to death by neighbourers in a public gathering called to resolve land dispute by some lawyers in rural Pratapgarh are just an indication that law and order has gone for a toss in UP.
An important reason why the law and order has crumbled in UP is because the government was busy targeting its political opponents by lodging false cases against them. Sending to jail after filing false cases against Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, UP state President of Socialist Party (India), spokesperson of All India People’s Front and retired IPS officer, S.R. Darapuri, Congress worker Sadaf Jafar and hundreds of activists and common citizens who were involved in anti-Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens movement and additionally sending recovery notices to all of them for damages to public and private property during protests even before charges were proved in a court of law, sending UP Congress President Ajay Kumar Lallu to jail on charges of having provided false papers related to registration of some vehicles that his party had offered to UP government to transport migrant workers during lockdown, sending President of UP Congress minority cell Shahnawaz Alam to jail later for his participation in anti-CAA, NRC protests, UP police travelled from Ayodhya to Delhi to serve notice to Wire editor Siddharth Varadarajan as he had raised question on UP government’s willingness to give nod to the Ram Navami fair in Ayodhya amidst lockdown and now cases against Sanjay Singh for promoting enmity among communities and putting lock on AAP office in Lucknow betrays the preoccupations of UP government.
This is now a trend in BJP run governments. They are ever ready to curb the fundamental right to freedom of expression by initiating police actions to terrorise their political opponents at slightest of provocation. Yogi Adityanath must understand that the oft-repeated prodigal utopia of Ramraj will not come by building a temple in Ayodhya. As his ‘thok do’ (kill criminals in encounters with police) policy has quite clearly failed he needs to seriously deliberate on how his government can bring some semblance of law and order in the state by ending the prevalent anarchy.
By Sandeep Pandey
Note : Writer is Vice President, Socialist Party (India).