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Home > 2020 > In the land of Yogi where criminals rule | Arun Srivastava

Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 43, New Delhi, October 10, 2020

In the land of Yogi where criminals rule | Arun Srivastava

Saturday 10 October 2020

by Arun Srivastava

Rajput strongman Ajay Mohan Bisht was voted twice in two years as the nation’s best chief minister. Bisht is none else but the chief of a Hindu math, a yogi, a person who has supposedly renounced earthly luxuries, the materialism, in Gorakhpur of Uttar Pradesh with a number of criminal cases against him. Ever since he became the chief minister of UP he has been donning controversies for his unsavoury actions.

With the opposition in Uttar Pradesh behaving like a maid to the ruler, Bisht, the Rajput lord has turned autocrat and has been trampling the rule book and even the Constitution to suit his personal interest and satisfy his ego. Before becoming Yogi, the Bisht was the leader of group of Rajput musclemen.

It was his image of a muscleman that made Narendra Modi, who by then had become the prime minister of India, to install him as the chief minister of UP. This was a caste appointment. Modi knew that a Rajput muscleman would be best person to deliver the result. Bisht did not disappoint his mentor.

Ever since he became the chief minister, the state has witnessed an upsurge in the number of cases of murder and rape. Just after taking charge of the state he had issued diktat to teach lessons to the Romeos. This witnessed tremendous rise in the number of encounters. But this could not restore peace and curtail crime in the state. This had a very cunning side. Through this order he crushed the criminals of other castes but allowed the Rajput gangsters and criminals to roam free.

Obviously in this backdrop his being elected as the best chief minister has indeed been intriguing. This even makes the process suspect whether it was sponsored by him. Nothing is impossible in present day politics. If the politicians could manoeuvre the opinion and exit polls, getting a certificate of being the best chief minister was certainly not a big deal.

His grip on the bureaucrats and the administration could be judged from the simple fact that his officers went to extreme to deny that the 19-year-old dalit Valmiki girl was gagged, raped and bludgeoned by upper caste criminals in Hathras, barely 200km southeast of Delhi. Her tongue was cut and spine was broken which made her paralysed.

Just after news of the savagery broke the authorities damn it as “fake news”. Though for a fortnight she survived the multiple assaults and the slur of official lies the officials continued to ignore her. This is the truth of Adityanath’s realm. Once she dies she is bundled to Hathras and her body is burnt to ashes in the midnight. In a statae which is ruled by the Hindu zealot , the Hindu rituals are given the nasty treatment. Against the prevailing Hindu religious ethics her body is burnt in the dead of the night in the absence of her parents and other family members. It is tough to comprehend what actually Bisht’s police was trying to conceal.

In democratic and republic India uniformed policemen, guardians of law and order, accomplish criminal destruction of evidence. As if this was not enough the district magistrate threatens the parents of the girl to shut up. “Half of the press has left,others will leave. But I will be here”. He warns the poor Valimiki. This is the most inhuman act an IPS can commit. One would certainly like to know from the President of India, Kovind, who incidentally himself is a dalit, what kind of IPS your government intends to produce? Is not a slur on the character and image of the premier services?

To the agitated enquiries of journalists present, one of them says out loud on camera: “You cannot go anywhere near, we have instructions. And we cannot speak; we have no permission to speak in Hindustan.” As if this was not enough, Prashant Kumar, additional director-general (law and order) of the UP police, pulls out a forensic lab report and announces that the girl had never been raped. I have one suggestion to Kovind, please amend the service rules of the civil services and post these officers as the servants of the politicians. Let India be ruled by God. Otherwise too your prime minister and his government has been planning to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra.

Kumar is the same man entrusted, two years ago, was assigned with the onerous task of showering rose petals from a chopper on streams of “kanwarias” in western Uttar Pradesh. Indeed shocking is the revelation that Bisht and his officials are working on the thesis to come with the exposure that a design has been unearthed which revealed that a conspiracy was hatched out to push the state into caste turmoil. Bisht’s infamous SIT would certainly unveil evil design behind the whole incident.

It takes imagination, as Adityanath demonstrated early in his tenure as Uttar Pradesh boss, to appropriate to yourself the power to abrogate all criminal charges and cases against yourself. Again it needs imagination to bump of mafia don Vikas Dubey, a man who can put him in trouble if he decides to sing. It needs courage to withdraw thousands of crores from the employees’ provident fund account and give the same to a dubious housing finance corporation. The imagination ofBisht must be appreciated for his intimidating tactics to rechristen a museum of Mughal-era treasures and artefacts at Agra after Shivaji. He must be applauded for creating a Special Security Force that is empowered, by law, to “arrest anybody or conduct a search operation” without a warrant.

How the people of UP forget their imaginative chief minister who pursuing the politics of lumpen justice had asked his police to portray the names, photographs and addresses of eminent citizens, academics and rights activists on roadside hoardings purely for fulfilling his sadistic pleasure and shaming them. Had the Allahabad High Court not intervened and ordered for pulling down of those hoardings — of anti-CAA protesters — these people might have been languishing in jails without any trial due to the “unwarranted interference in the privacy of people”.

None can forget the torture and persecution Dr Kafeel Khan, a renowned child specialist and saviour of hundreds of ailing children in Gorakhpur had to suffer. He was hounded and repeatedly jailed. His crime was he had exposed the mismanagement and reasons behind the death of hundreds of kids at the Gorakhpur hospital run by Bisht. His crime was has talked to the press and revealed the crime. For this was implicated under National Security Act. After his release by the Allahabad High Cort he had to relocate to Rajasthan for saving his and lives of his family members. Adityanath’s has publicly sworn that he “shall not stop till I turn UP and India into Hindu Rashtra”.

Jailed once in 2007 for encouraging Hindutva rioters and flouting prohibitory orders, Bisht has not been ashamed to play outlaw. The country men must feel proud at his election as protector of law in Uttar Prades. This is the manifestation of highest form of sycophancy. Bisht is the person who inspired and popularised the “love jihad” campaign.

The most shocking has been the silence of Modi; his refusal to criticise this heinous act. On the contrary he has been resorting to his old dirty tactics of highlighting the issue of nationalism to confuse the people and divert their attention.

On a day when the entire nation was showing its sympathy to the parents of the brutalised girl and sharing their grief, Modi was indulged in launching vile propaganda against Congress for compromising the country’s defence interests for a long time as their governments kept "playing around with files" and delayed procurement of fighter jets, arms, ammunition and other strategic equipment. No doubt he could have this issue a day later but it was his shrewd move. He has been surviving on Nehru-Gandhi bashing.

Listen to what he did he say on that occasion; "Nothing is more important for us than the defence of the country.” Yes he is right. Rape and killing of dalit girls does not matter for him as his RSS guru Savarkar had justified rape as a political weapon to silence the detractors. In this case the Rajputs of UP raped a dalit girl to silence them. Strange is the way of Modi. He has been maintaining ominous silence in the matter of agricultural laws, but on day he expressed his concern for the farmers.

The most shocking act of Bisht was his refusal to allow Gandhi siblings from meeting the parents of the girl. The instruction was so intrinsic that a male police officer caught Priyanka’s shirt by collar. This act of the police officer needs a thorough probe, to find out as to who had given him permission to lay his hand on a lady, and in this case Priyanka. It is national shame. One cannot imagine that Modi and his cohorts would stoop so low that would forget the morality and decency and indulge in such a cowardice act.

It is sad that LK Advani, the patriarch of the highest form of morality has been maintaining ominous silence on this wretched cat. Priyanka must be appreciated for the restrained she showed on the occasion, but Modi and Bisht must not take this as their weaknesses. They must realise that the Indians and Bharatiyas are watching their actions.

After meeting the family members of the victim, Priyanka and Rahul had rightly observed “UP government is morally corrupt". Had it not been the case the police officers should not have tried to bury the entire matter and give a clean chit to the rapists. After meeting the family members Priyanka claimed; “The victim did not get treatment, her complaint was not registered on time, her body was forcibly cremated, the family is in captivity, they are being suppressed — now they are being threatened that they will have to undergo a narco test".

Certainly President Kovind must have been in the know of the sordid episode and how the state police has been coercing the family members and telling lies. He must reward the UP police for its gallant. It is a matter of pride that no country in the world has this type of police force which UP under Bisht has. Without lest hesitation the local police officers had said the cremation was carried out "as per the wishes of the family".

Senior BJP leader Uma Bharati certainly deserves appreciation for her outburst against the Yogi government and becoming the first senior BJP politician to speak out against aspects of the Hathras horror, urging chief minister Yogi Adityanath to end the siege of the victim’s family and allow politicians and the media to meet them.

It is strange that it took eight days according to the victim’s family, for the police to invoke the charge of gang rape and five days to arrest the suspects. The force is also accused of denying the girl the best possible treatment and then hijacking her body from the hospital and burning it after locking her family at their home. Her father said the police had confined the family at their home, taken away their phones and thrashed him when he sought to step out.

In the entire melee the most disgusting has been the attitude of the television news channels. They provided the minimal coverage of the protest. In contrast a much smaller hunger strike by some people who allege that actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death in June was murder, not suicide was given much prominence. This reflect the worst kind of degeneration of the Indian media. Ever since Modi came to power he has been assiduously trying to silence the media, now this apathy of the media towards Hathras incident bears the clear signthat he has succeeded in his ulterior design.

A women protester said; “We are protesting, even at the risk of facing police cases, in the hope that this struggle will bring together the movements for both social justice and gender justice. We have several women members out protesting today, including some who are facing police cases for the anti-CAA protests. They may criminalise our protests, but silence on heinous and feudal crimes like what happened in Hathras is criminal.”

CPI general secretary D. Raja said. “India cannot continue like this. The whole country is agitating for human rights and dignity. Adityanath cannot continue as CM. I appeal to the President (Ram Nath Kovind), who is from UP. He must intervene. He knows what’s happening. I can’t expect (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi to intervene and set things right.”

While the Bisht government was resorting to all kind of underhand tactics to suppress the voice of protest, it was also involved in tapping of the phones of journalists covering the incident. The India Today group issued a statement alleging the tapping and leak of a phone conversation between one of its reporters and the victim’s brother, and demanded an explanation from the government. Incidentally India Today extends full moral support to Modi’s actions.

The statement read; “The Uttar Pradesh administration has barred journalists from entering Hathras and is not allowing the victim’s family to speak to the media. This evening, the audio of telephone call between the victim’s brother... and India Today’s reporter, Tanushree Pandey, was leaked on social media”.

“India Today first asks why was the telephone of our reporter, who was covering the Hathras murder, being tapped? If it was (the brother’s) phone that was being tapped, then the government needs to answer why are the phones of the grieving victim’s family under surveillance or being tapped. And under what provision of law were the phones tapped and call recordings leaked by officials who had access to these recordings.”

It is intriguing why a powerful government felt so insecure that it should build a wall of policemen to barricade from public view — and cut off access to — a village in which a traumatised Dalit family grieves the death of a 19-year-old daughter brutalised by upper caste men?

Bisht has said that he would constitute a SIT team to look into all issues raised by the family of the 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras, and the strictest action will be taken against the culprits. But people ofUP know how Bisht’s SITs operate. They have no faith in what Bisht says. First he must explain why his police took to such erratic actions. The victim, who was attacked on September 14, died of her grievous injuries in the early hours of Tuesday in a Delhi hospital and was cremated in the dead of night near her home on Wednesday with her family alleging that they were hurried into carrying out her last rites by local police.

Some unusual things happened on that day in Hathras. When Uttar Pradesh police were using force on MPs and journalists to shut them out of the rape-and-murder victim’s village in Hathras how could it allow Rajputs from the neighbourhood to hold an unofficial “panchayat” around noon. The most interesting aspect of the meeting was it declared the four arrested youths innocent, echoing some BJP politicians, and demanded narco-analysis of the accused and complainants.

The same demand has been echoed by a section of the senior government officials. This is ridiculous. Narco tests are carried out on the accused persons not on the victims. Raising this issue at this juncture simply implied that they are confident of manoeuvring the report in their favour and prove the victims as liers.

The 100 odd retired bureaucrats who had written an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, expressing pain at the “constant plumbing the depths of depravity and callousness in governance” and demanding punishment for the officials who had failed the Hathras rape victim must be feeling ashamed at this moral decline of their serving fraternity guys.

Though they reminded Adityanath that as the chief executive of the state, he bore the ultimate responsibility for what had happened, what is more imperative is they should issue public condemnation of such officials. These officers deserve this censure.

The officers also told Yogi; “your actions over the past three-and-a-half years give us little reason to believe that your actions are motivated by respect for the rule of law. We urge you to conduct your administration in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India, to which you have sworn allegiance when you assumed office,” the letter, written on behalf of Constitutional Conduct, a collective of retired civil servants, said.

The letter expressed hope that the chief minister would deliver justice to the Hathras victim and her family “without fear or favour, despite the efforts of specific upper caste groups to interfere with the course of justice”.

The letter read; “Being a person attached to a persuasion of the Hindu faith, you would be well aware that Hindu customs require the nearest kin to offer agni to the mortal remains. Both the sacred traditions and the family’s pleas that they would perform the cremation in the morning were ignored. To add insult to injury, a policeman is reported to have told the bereaved family that they were also to blame and the district magistrate has apparently been captured on video making veiled threats to the family that they should be careful about their statements to the media, because the officials would be around even after the media departs.”

The collective voiced its scepticism as it referred to reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked Adityanath to fast-track the case to secure an early conviction.

“With our experience as erstwhile administrators in different departments of the central and state governments, our group of former civil servants had, in the past, highlighted the brazen violations of the rule of law in the Unnao rape case and in the murder of the police inspector in Bulandshahr,” the letter said.

“We note with concern that, even after two years, the ghastly murder of a brother officer has not stirred the UP police and your administration to bring the case to closure. In these circumstances, we may be forgiven for viewing UP’s fast-track justice system with scepticism.”

The letter expressed concern also about the “novel interpretations of fast-track justice” on Yogi Adityanath’s watch. “In recent days, we have seen two instances where alleged criminals have met their deaths while being transported by the police to Uttar Pradesh. Even if they were guilty of the offences listed against them, they were entitled, under the Constitution of India and the laws of the land, to a fair trial. Denial of this right amounts to violation of Article 21 of the Constitution,” it said.

Among the signatories to the letter were former national security adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon, former health secretary Sujatha Rao, former deputy NSA Vijaya Latha Reddy, former finance secretary Narendra Sisodia, former ambassadors Navrekha Sharma and Deb Mukharji, and former Bengal DGP (Intelligence) A.K. Samanta.

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