Sengar episode once again highlights the perils of Yogi’s macho statecraft

Custodial death of a rape victim’s father is far beyond ordinary crime: It is indicative of a deeply criminalised polity

ajay

Ajay Singh | April 11, 2018


#Uttar Pradesh   #Unnao Rape Case   #Yogi Adityanath   #Yogi government   #Rape Victim  
Illustration: Ashish Asthana
Illustration: Ashish Asthana

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath can be singularly credited for borrowing the phrase, 'thok denge', from Bollywood flicks and introducing it right in the mainstream governance discourse.

The phrase is a Bollywood euphemism for eliminating somebody. Yogi used this expression last year ("Agar aparadh karenge to thok denge (if they commit crime, they will be bumped off"). He was sending what seemed like a stern message to criminals operating in Uttar Pradesh – either to mend their way or face the threat of being eliminated by the police. And the Uttar Pradesh administration, particularly the police, seemed to have internalised Yogi's message too literally.

The custodial killing of the father of a rape victim in Unnao is just the latest example of how governance gets brutalised when the state’s chief executive gives a carte blanche to the police to brand anybody a criminal and kill at will. Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a powerful Rajput legislator from the ruling BJP, ensured that the law enforcement agencies abetted the crime when his men carried out the killing of the man whose daughter had accused him, the legislator, of raping her. The police at best was a conspirator to the crime.

Monday’s incident is far beyond an ordinary crime. It is indicative of a deeply criminalised polity which has further worsened with the ascension of Yogi as chief minister. The reasons for this criminal conduct of the state is not far to seek. The Uttar Pradesh police have staged a series of dubious encounters in the past one year or so – ostensibly to eliminate criminals, thus assuming powers which are extrajudicial. And they are acting as a law unto themselves.

How else would one explain the killing of a hapless man whose family is the victim of a powerful legislator’s misdeeds? In normal circumstances, the legislator and his brother should have been arrested immediately after the woman accused them of molestation and rape. But Sengar was seen sauntering around the office of the chief minister and thumbing his nose at the rule of law by describing the rape victim and his family as "nichle istar ke log (low-level people)". Can any other rape accused be given such a liberty in a civilised society? (The MLA’s brother, Atul Singh Sengar, was arrested finally on Tuesday – only after the media cried foul.)

How has this situation come about? The fact that governance in the country’s largest state cares two hoots to be held accountable to the rule of law is a grim reality. What complicates the situation is the impression that Yogi is a Rajput chief minister who is incapable of taking along the diverse social groups. Given his saffron robe and his past utterances, Yogi did little to allay the apprehension of the Muslims. He rather reaffirmed it when he needlessly said that he would not celebrate Eid as he is a Hindu. Apart from the communal divide, Yogi does not appear to be astute enough to accommodate varied caste groups which formed a sizeable support base for the BJP in the 2017 assembly elections. This is very well reflected in the Yogi government’s penchant for picking up Rajput officers to be posted in prime positions in the administration and the police. This practice of running the government is not different from his predecessor Akhilesh Yadav’s style of functioning except for the fact that Yogi has introduced unfettered machismo in the statecraft.

It would have been instructive if Yogi had tried to look at the record of an earlier predecessor, VP Singh, who assumed the chief ministership of the state in the early eighties. The erstwhile Raja of Manda, soon after taking over the charge, vowed to end the menace of dacoits in the Chambal ravines and launched an aggressive muscular policy against brigands. VP Singh soon realised that his approach was counterproductive. The police operations proved to be much oppressive for OBCs and scheduled castes while dacoits continued to operate with impunity.

The Unnao incident must serve as a warning signal to the chief minister whose fascination for a macho state may prove to be equally counterproductive as it was for VP Singh. It would be good for the state and its people if Yogi realises sooner rather than later that the adherence to the rule of law is sine qua non for the evolution of a civilised and just society. The overt or covert protection of people like Sengar is a sure recipe for a chaos that will ultimately prove to be his undoing.


This comment has first appeared in FirstPost.com
 

Comments

 

Other News

Manmohan Singh favours ‘time-tested measures’ for economy

The much hyped ‘double engine’ model of governance on which the BJP is seeking votes has utterly failed, and Mumbai and Maharashtra have had to face some of the worst effects of economic slowdown, former prime minister Manmohan Singh has said. A lot of problems facing Maharashtra

“If the oppn is weak you can’t blame the govt for that”

A three-term Rajya Sabha member, Sanjay Raut is the Shiv Sena spokesperson and its voice in parliament. He is also the executive editor of Marathi newspaper Samana, started by Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray. Raut spoke with Geetanjali Minhas on his party’s seat-sharing agreement

Ashish Shelar of BJP says, “We are very confident of victory”

Ashish Shelar, 47, was the president of the Mumbai city unit of the BJP, before he became the minister of school education, sports and youth welfare in the Maharashta government this year. He has represented the Vandre West constituency in the state assembly and seeking re-election. In a chat with

Nobel for economics goes to `global fight against poverty`

The Nobel Prize in economics for 2019 goes to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty." The prize, known as “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel”, was announc

Modi-Xi script a new chapter in bilateral relations

Prime minister Narendra Modi has accepted president Xi Jinping’s invitation to visit China in 2020 for their third informal summit after Wuhan and Mamallapuram, indicating both sides’ realization of the importance of the mechanism which gives the two leaders of the Asian giants an opportunity t

Dharma as the original Idea of India

Dharma: Hinduism and Religions in India By Chaturvedi Badrinath Edited by Tulsi Badrinath Penguin, 194+ xiii pages, Rs 499 How to live: That is the most fundamental question of human existence.



Archives

Current Issue

Video

CM Nitish’s convoy attacked in Buxar

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter