UP: Encounters are fetching Yogi Adityanath diminishing returns 

The impact has been quite the reverse of what Yogi had expected. Policemen are accused of even hiring people to kill on their behalf. While there is calm on the surface, there is panic on the ground


Zaheeb Ajmal

Kaisi ulti huwee huqumat hai
Kaisa ulta huwa Zamana
Jinhe hona tha jailkhane me
Unke haathon me hai jailkhana

(How crooked the state/ How twisted this age/Prison birds / Flying freely outside the cage)

The lines, penned by an unknown poet and which have been in circulation for several decades, aptly describe the situation in Uttar Pradesh which sports a Chief Minister, who acknowledged in his pre-poll affidavit in 2014 that as many as 15 criminal cases were pending against him, and a police force, a section of which has clearly turned rogue and gone on a killing spree.

A senior but retired police officer believes RTI applications on the FIRs produced by the police would reveal the following:

All policemen said to have been injured in encounters would be found to have injuries on their legs

All encounter victims would have been shot through their heart or in their back

All firearms said to have been recovered by the police from the alleged criminals would be country-made pistols

Since all these firearms are really crude, mostly basic pipe guns and can only fire once, all description of criminals showering the police with bullets are suspect and are quite possibly false

And in cases where bodies have not been returned to the family and were cremated by the police, the inference would be obvious

“Sadly, a section of UP police seem to have decided to ignore guidelines issued by the Supreme Court as well as the National Human Rights Commission,” said the police officer.

Explaining why a section of the police seem to have gone on a killing spree, a serving police officer said the Chief Minister appears to believe that the promise of restoring law & order in the state and ending ‘jungle raj’ had led to the landslide victory of the BJP and landed him on the CM’s chair.

With virtually no administrative experience, Yogi Adityanath’s advisors have made him to believe that killing a few criminals would go a long way to drive the fear of God into these elements.

That’s why he gave a free hand to the police and even announced enhanced rewards to the policemen.

The impact has been quite the reverse of what he had expected. Policemen are accused of even hiring people to do the killings on their behalf. And while there is calm on the surface, there is panic on the ground. With the targets being the poor, the vulnerable and the young, fear in the villages is pervasive.

There are signs that the policy is already fetching diminishing returns. The Chief Minister’s own image has taken a beating after his government refused to sanction his prosecution in a two-decade old criminal case against him. The Allahabad High Court accepted Yogi Government’s plea after noting that previous governments too had sat over the sanction.

So, while the cases against the Chief Minister continue to get dismissed in court, the poor and the innocent are paying the price to promote Yogi’s image as a strict enforcer of the law. If the by-election results from Gorakhpur and Phulpur are any indication, the strategy has already boomeranged.

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