Uttar Pradesh: Under pressure from the BJP leaders, morale of the state police is shattered

The increasing interference of BJP leaders in the functioning of the state police has become a matter of grave concern, having a direct bearing on the state’s worsening law and order situation

PTI
PTI
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Aas Mohd Kaif

The increasing interference of the leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the functioning of the state police has become a matter of grave concern, having a direct bearing on the state's worsening law and order situation.

Police officials say the matter is so serious that there is hardly any police station left in the state that doesn't witness political interference on a regular basis. Investigations against BJP leaders are routinely influenced, sometimes even from the government, and BJP leaders have of late been in news for bashing up the cops. This has been the norm over the last two years of CM Yogi Adityanath's tenure, confide police officials.

It is understood that the incident involving Saharanpur MP Raghav Lakhanpal in April 2017, when he along with his supporters attacked the residence of local SSP and defaced his name plate, sent fears down the spine of the entire police force in the state. In reaction to the incident, the SSP was shunted out of the district, while the accused MP was allowed to go scot-free. All the SSP did was that he refused to grant permission for BJP rally which was supposed to pass through a predominantly Muslim neighbourhood.

In another incident, a local BJP leader entered police chowki in Moradabad district and bashed up the incharge in front of senior police officials. The leader in question, Shivendra Gupta, is considered close to the sitting BJP MP Kunwar Sarvesh Singh. No action was taken against Gupta, despite repeated pleas to his seniors by the victim who is also a cop, Amit Sharma. Local MLA Ikram Qureshi from Samajwadi Party says such brazen acts involving BJP supporters have become routine since Sarvesh Singh was elected as MP.

Reports of BJP leaders assaulting police officials have also been trickling in from Meerut, Saharanpur, Agra, and Noida. In Meerut alone, more than a dozen incidents involving BJP leaders and supporters beating up local officials have come to light. The most notorious of all the incidents in Meerut took place in October 2018, when a cop was beaten up by local BJP councillor Manish Chaudhary. In a video of the incident that went viral, Chaudhary got involved after the policeman, Sukhpal Pawar, who was having dinner at a restaurant with a woman friend, got into a tiff with the restaurant management.

The entire BJP leadership in the district, instead of condemning Pawar, doubled down and backed the councillor's actions.

This interference is not limited to the police stations, but it has also seeped into the deputation of senior police officers

After an inspector was murdered in Allahabad (now Prayagraj) in September last year, the Congress state president of the state, Raj Babbar had said that the reputation of the UP police has been completely tainted. The murder of Inspector Subodh Singh in Bulandshahr also reflected the tarnished reputation of the UP Police. The state secretary of the Samajwadi Party Manish Jagan says, “The Bharatiya Janata Party has been accusing the previous governments of taking law into their own hands but now the BJP itself does not care for law anymore. These incidents started taking place after the BJP government took over and have continued since then. Most of the interference by the BJP leaders can be seen in the state police department and police stations.”

This interference is not limited to the police stations, but it has also seeped into the deputation of senior police officers. Barhapur BJP MLA Sushant Singh’s letter for the deployment of Bijnore’s SP Umesh Kumar Singh became quite controversial. Sushant's father Sarvesh Singh is a Member of Parliament of Moradabad and is related to Muzaffarnagar SP Sudhir Kumar Singh.

Former legislator of Bijnor Sheesh Ram says, “there is nothing more left to say. Don’t you feel now, how much freedom the Bijnor SP must have enjoyed?”

Three days ago, an attempt was made to set the inspector of Mandva, Noida on fire. Earlier, a Ghazipur inspector was also attacked. According to a retired Circle Officer (CO), SKS Pratap, there was a time when no one could dare to do so. It’s very essential to have the full cooperation of senior officials.

Rashid Ali, who is a crime reporter in Lucknow, says, “it is true that the BJP leaders are far more unbridled than the leaders of earlier governments. We come to know about the constant complaint of their unruly behaviour with the police. The senior police officials have constantly been turning a deaf ear to them.

The morale of the state police has shattered. Often strict action is not taken against the accused because of the tremendous pressure from the BJP leaders. One more reason for this is that the BJP has come in power after 15 years and the party workers are not in control of the BJP leadership.”

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