Yogi government’s inaccurate declaration of UP as a ‘model state’ points to larger efforts by the ruling party and its allies to reshape the political narrative
The BJP ascended to power at the Centre by misleading the country into believing that Gujarat under Modi was the model state of development, whereas the CAG report revealed that the Human Development Index is the poorest in this state; it is a haven for crony capitalists. Now, Yogi government claims UP to be a model state and there is even a tweet with the hashtag 'The Great CM Yogi.' However, the handling of protestors against the triad of CAA-NRC-NPR, etc., only speaks of the Taliban-like mindset of the rulers and use of police as an instrument.
In our democracy, although the allegiance of police has to be to the Constitution in the execution of their duties and not to the diktats of the ruling party, the well-documented brutal and communal conduct of UP police in dealing with the protests go in line with the rants of the CM, masquerading as Yogi.
While massive protests in several states have been peaceful, in UP alone, nineteen were killed in 19 days; even policemen went about destroying properties. The SP of Meerut was caught on video yelling in the by-lanes of a Muslim locality, asking people "to go to Pakistan" and informing them in no uncertain terms that he knew how to "fix them". And the senior officers come to his defence saying that some in the crowd had raised pro-Pakistan slogans. But they fail to explain why, if it is true, they did not book them under proper laws, instead of responding with communal vituperations. And, CM has no regrets for the loss of lives.
Instead, his office tweets: "Every rioter is shocked...Every violent protester will cry now because there is a Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh." Accusing Muslims, even our PM says that they can be identified "through their dress." Contrast it with the happenings in Hong Kong in the past seven months. In spite of some violent protests, the police brutality has yet to cause casualties in an otherwise ruthless communist regime.
In any real democracy, no leader would talk officially about making people cry or the government exacting revenge. If he does, he would have to face a rigorous trial. However, it is passé in the present sham of democracy of the BJP regime, which is using police to promote their ideological vision and the aspirations of the RSS – NRC, Kashmir, Ayodhya, triple talaq, CAA, and NPC. Yogi Adityanand, who has made no secret of his prejudice against Muslims and Dalits, is one of their most active leaders in this pursuit.
He tries to convince the world that he has made UP a model state. However, people of the country are not convinced because his actions are not in conformity with Yogic traditions; there is a prejudiced application of law and there is lawlessness.
According to Hindu traditions and Bhagavad Gita, as a Yogi, he should lead an inspirational life, by voluntarily following ethical precepts called Yamas and Niyamas that include Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Daya (compassion), Arjava (non-hypocrisy), Kshma (forgiveness), Dhriti (fortitude) and Dana (generosity) among others. Sri Krishna said, "there should not be any hatred and violence even in the name of religion and faith since the source of all religions and faiths is the eternal Brahman, who is infinite love and compassion." A true yogi is self-giving and unassuming, cultivating equanimity and sameness towards the pairs of opposites. Instead, Adityanand is only driven by the desire to achieve power and to promote a culture of hatred among communities.
Once he said, "If given a chance, we will install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque." On another occasion, he said that he wouldn't stop until he turns Uttar Pradesh and India into a Hindu State. While the Gorakhnath Math he heads believes in Nirguna of God, he uses the names of Ram and Hanuman to whip up passions for his political ends, thus confirming his duplicity and religious bigotry, which are the reasons for the flourishing of cow-vigilantism and intolerance. And police is made a party in promoting this agenda.
The UP police booked Zeeshan's wife and cousins under the UP Prevention of Cow Protection Act for cow-slaughter and deliberately went soft with the mob that attacked their house. There were over 120 incidents of mob lynching by cow-vigilantes, in which 40 people were killed. Also, a whopping 1,900 encounter deaths, mostly of Muslims, occurred in one year. These extrajudicial killings mean an open admission of the collapse of the legal system and the rule of law in UP since bad elements are controlled only with the use of several laws in other states. Interestingly, the same killer-squads of police turn Nelson's eye when it comes to lynching by cow-vigilante thugs. There is scant respect for the rights of life and liberty of citizens as required by the Constitution. Human life, of Muslims and Dalits, has become insignificant to both the police and the government. When would they ever realise that the essence of all religions is humanism, which is also the bottom-line of our Constitution that provides the reason d'être for the coexistence of all faiths in India? Unfortunately, impartiality in the application of the law is missing, especially when it comes to Yogi-favoured people.
Powerful criminals get the government's patronage. Kuldeep Sengar, who had raped a teenage girl at Unnao along with his gang, was a BJP leader favoured by the police. The victim's father was killed in police custody. And then, there was the car-truck collision incident at Raebareli, in which the same victim and her lawyer were seriously injured and two of her relatives died, which was a sequel to the threats given to her to withdraw the rape case. Then, we have another well-protected godman-politician Swami Chinmayand, a serial sexual offender and a close buddy of Yogi Adityanand. No action was taken against him even after a video of the law-student revealing her year-long trauma of sexual abuse went viral until the Supreme Court intervened and constituted an SIT. Human suffering does not pinch either Yogi or the other BJP leaders when the accused involved are their men. .Rule of law has taken a beating in UP.
Subodh Singh, SHO, who tried to conduct impartial investigations in the case against cow-vigilantes, was shot dead by the religious bigots. People assaulted Mullas and pulled their sacred beard and made him chant "Jai Shri Ram". There were gruesome incidents like a gang of armed people killed innocent tribespeople at Dhond. An MLA's son could tie down the in-charge of a chowki to a cot. Unruly elements could attack the house of a Superintendent of Police Nav Kumar when his wife, children and old parents were inside. A female BDC officer in Aligarh and a female Home Guard in Bareilly could be killed by setting them on fire. In Rampur, a man was beaten and tied to a tree before his wife was raped in front of him by a group of men. Rape of two girls in Muzaffarnagar stirred the soul of the nation. Out of over 10,000 rapes/attempted rapes reported in the country, about 6,000 occurred in UP alone. Yet, UP is a model state for the so-called Yogi!
Key BJP leaders, who approve the 'justice-delivery' in case of Disha, are silent about their Unnao-rape accused MLA and Swami Chinmayanda. They also extend tacit support to the encounter-killings by the Yogi government and the mob-lynching bigots. But, Yogi is intolerant to criticism. In the matter of arrest of journalist Prashant Kanojia, the SC observed that the arrest was an even greater affront to democratic principles of freedom of speech and expression than some person forwarding a social media message lampooning the CM. For these BJP leaders, extremist Hindu outfits are family, while their governments indulge in violence in which Muslims are victims. They extend all protection to the bigots. In the Malegaon case, the special public prosecutor Rohini Salian had publicly spoken about pressure exerted to go easy on the accused. Practically all accused, wherein in the Muslims were the victims, were set free to benefit the RSS and kindred outfits, be it the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Mecca Masjid or Samjhauta Express incident. It is all no surprise since bench-fixing is possible even in the SC, as alleged by Justice Kurian Joseph.
While the iron hand of fascism and the all-pervading fear-psychosis are too evident, promotion of Hindu-agenda of RSS and BJP in the name of nationalism is another worrisome facet of fascism that has driven India in reverse gear, from secularism to the dark days of intolerance. Targeting of Muslims, like the fascists, targeted non-Aryan races, has become the new norm, which goes against the spirit of the Constitution about non-discrimination on any factor. Irrationality and religious bigotry have reached their zenith, scientific temper and humanism have taken the back seat.
If fake Yogis and such other people become rulers, this is the outcome. Unfortunately, in Indian democracy, there is no escape from such evils until we go for the next elections.
Dr N Dilip Kumar is a retired IPS officer and a former Member of Public Grievances Commission, Delhi. Views expressed are strictly personal