The Bulandshahr gang rape has added another shameful chapter to the Samajwadi Party’s government and presented a post-mortem of sorry affairs of law & order in Uttar Pradesh
Nishant Kr Azad
On Monday (August 6), as usual, I was returning home from office in the evening by metro. While standing in the corner in a crowded train, suddenly I saw all corners flooded with advertisements of Akhilesh Yadav government praising its work with a tagline “Ummidon ka Pradesh (state of hope)”. Certainly, when he took over as the Chief Minister of most populous state of Bharat, he was seen as an answer to many of the questions unaddressed in the complicated state. As a young face of Samajwadi Party, he was expected to transform the caste ridden state of affairs within the party and the state. The advertisement made me think about the hopes that were raised when Akhilesh-led government was formed trouncing the corrupt rule of Mayawati, forgiving and forgetting the past memories of ‘criminal raj’ under the Mulayam regime.
Let us screen the performance of this government. Though loud claims of development, creation of infrastructure, schemes in housing and education and modernisation of police machinery are being made, the ‘criminal raj’ syndrome of the past 10 years is still haunting the regional satrap.
People have not forgotten the horrifying Bulandshahr highway rape and murder case. Still another shameful incident came to light in which a five-year-old Dalit girl was picked up from her house and allegedly raped in the Hapur district. In response to a rape incident after formation of Akhilesh government, the Samajwadi Party supremo, Mulayam Singh Yadav said that “ladke, ladke hain… galti ho jati hai (Boys are boys, they sometimes make mistakes).” Such statements expose the mindset of the party and its attitude towards law and order issues.
The Akhilesh Yadav government is currently in the eye of storm due to the recent tragedy in Bulandsahar. There has been spurt in rising crime against women in the state and the government has totally failed to take a stringent action against perpetrators.
According to the recent report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crimes against women across the country increased by around 10 per cent in 2014. A total of 3, 37,922 cases were registered as against 3, 09,546 in 2013. Uttar Pradesh topped the chart for being the State least safe for women with 38,467 cases. UP earned distinction in 2013 as well with 32,546 cases.
NCRB data also showed 3,467 cases of rapes in Uttar Pradesh in 2014. The report also stated that 58,592 cases of kidnapping of women and girls were registered in 2014, with the maximum number of cases (10,628) being reported in Uttar Pradesh.
The State of Uttar Pradesh is facing charges of:
Poor Governance: Law and order has always been a major concern for a big state like Uttar Pradesh. The Akhilesh government looks very inefficient in handling this core issue. It is the public perception that Samajwadi Party encourages the ‘Gunda Raj’ in State.
Vote-Bank Politics: It is alleged that Samajwadi Party primarily appeases minority. People of a particular caste and religion are a large share of their vote bank.
Lack of Police Reforms: Though Uttar Pradesh government advertisements try to convince the people about the police reforms, the ground reality is just the opposite. Police reforms are not just about number of cars and equipments, but about their strength, training and attitude. When the polity and social structures are divisive, they are bound to reflect in police administration also. Sadly, the young and
educated leadership of Akhilesh failed to address this key reform.
Lack of education and employment: Though many private educational institutions are growing in Uttar Pradesh, by and large, Primary and Secondary education is still
fundamentally provided by the government run institutions. Government provided laptops and bicycles to the students to showcase in the advertisements but the quality of teachers and content of education is not being lifted. Even private universities and
colleges are coming up but they are not supported by suitable placements in the state. The only outcome is
educated unemployment, an obvious breeding ground for criminalisation.
According to a local, Amit (name changed), “It is a state where the whole police force is deputed to find Azam Khan’s buffaloes when they are found missing but nobody cares about public life and women safety. Many people in the state don’t even bother about filing their complaints because they know that ‘the police are not going to help you until you belong to a power backed family’. The lawlessness is the way of life in the state. We have learnt to live with these incidents.” People have openly started speaking about Akhilesh Yadav being a puppet Chief Minister being helpless before the whims of Azam Khan and decisions of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Opposition parties like BJP are naturally vocal about this issue. The state BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya said to Organiser, “The present Samajwadi Party government, or earlier Bahujan Samajwadi Party have always patronised the criminalisation of politics in the state. Their term is usually characterised by motivation of criminals and discouragement of police forces. I think the Akhilesh Yadav government has worked towards demoralising the police force. The increasing criminal graph and the issue of law and order will surface prominently in 2017.” About the specific incident, he added that “The event of Bulandshahr is tragic and shameful. The rape of five year old in Meerut is extremely painful and Akhilesh government bears responsibility for it. There is an anarchy in UP, and rule of law has corroded. The government here is presiding over issues only with coloured politics”.
In recent weeks, several gangrapes have been reported in Uttar Pradesh which has unmasked the law and order situation and also embarrassed the state government as it became a national issue. After completing his four years of tenure, though government is trying to infuse the positive sentiments through bombardments of advertisements through radio and print media, the ground reality does not corroborate with them. As the assembly elections are just drawing nearer, one important question is surely going to haunt the Samajwadi Party “What happened to the hope created about clean governance and crime free UP?”