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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 42, New Delhi, October 3, 2020

Criminal Raj in Uttar Pradesh | Barun Das Gupta

Friday 2 October 2020, by Barun Das Gupta

Under the ‘benign` leadership of Yogi Adityanath, Uttar Pradesh has become a paradise for criminals in cahoots with politicians in power. Four men in Hathras had brutally raped a 19-year old dalit girl. Not only was she raped but the criminals chopped off her tongue so that she could not speak, but her spine was broken and she sustained multiple fractures on her body. That was on September 14. She was first admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital at the Aligarh Muslim University which referred her to Delhi AIIMS. But strangely, she was taken instead to the Safdarjang Hospital in New Delhi where she died on Tuesday.

If the rape and murder were heinous crimes, the subsequent events have made the UP Government an accessory after the crime. The victim girl’s family were locked up and prevented from being present at the cremation. The police burnt her body without post mortem examination. The media was barred from covering the cremation, while the Deputy Commissioner of the district threatened the victim’s family to keep their mouth shut. He gave the family a stern warning: “The media will leave tomorrow, but we will not; we will be here.”

Then came the police claim that the victim was not raped at all. Her vagina and pelvis bore no sign of rape. This atrocious claim was refuted by the victim herself who in her dying declaration named the criminals who had brutalized her. The UP Government and the State BJP are busy defending the police and the civil administration and playing down the seriousness of the crime as much as possible.

The Congress is protesting against the crime. But the Yogi raj is so scared lest the truth in all its ugliness and repulsiveness should come out that the police are preventing anyone to go to the village. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi tried to reach the victim’s family but they were not only not allowed, but Rahul Gandhi was shoved by a police officer who felled him to the ground. Ultimately, Rahul and his associates were arrested by the police on the specious charge of obstructing government servants from doing their duty.

Targeting women, dalits and the minorities has become the new normal in UP. A three-year old girl was gangraped and killed early last month in Lakhimpur Kheri disrtrict. In Maharajganj district, a 12-year old girl was raped and murdered on August 28. Four days before that the police found the body of a 17-year old girl near her house in the same district. Ten days before that another dalit girl was raped and murdered in the same district. Had such heinous crimes been committed with such frequency in a non-BJP ruled State, the BJP would have rent the sky with the demand for the immediate dismissal of the State Government and imposition of President’s rule. But in UP where the BJP is in power, it looking the other way.

The PM is far too busy with the welfare of the farmers to find time either to pull up the Yogi Government for its total failure to maintain law and order or to sympathize with the relatives of the victims who have been raped and murdered. The politician-bureaucrat-police-criminal-lumpen raj is having a free run of UP. If things ever turn too hot for the senior police bureaucrats, they can always discard their khaki uniform, change into civvies and become politicians, if not ministers.. Nitish Kumar’s Bihar has shown the way. Only a strong and unified movement of the people can end the criminal raj in Uttar Pradesh.

(The author was a correspondent of The Hindu in Assam. He also worked in Patriot, Compass (Bengali), Mainstream. A veteran journalist, he comes from a Gandhian family and was intimately associated with the RCPI leader, Pannalal Das Gupta.)

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