While campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh assembly election in 2017, then BJP MP Yogi Adityanath had stated that under Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi government, the state of Uttar Pradesh was turning into another Kashmir!
Ironically, the state is in fact turning into another Kashmir today, under the chief ministership of Yogi Adityanath. Last week’s encounter killings in Aligarh, where two young men were shot dead by the state police, followed by the Apple executive Vivek Tiwari’s killing in Lucknow, has brought the issue of trigger-happy cops in Yogi’s ‘encounter raj’ centre-stage. The rencounter killings remind me of the frequent killings of civilians taking place in the Kashmir Valley.
According to figures from the People’s Union for Civil Liberties findings on encounters in Uttar Pradesh, since March 2017, in over 1,100 encounters, 49 people have been killed, more than 370 have been injured and over 3,300 arrested across the state.
These horrifying figures should shock the conscience of the nation, which has finally woken up to the ‘encounter raj’ prevalent in UP only after the killing of Tiwari.
If one is driving around the Kashmir Valley, two aspects have to be kept in mind – never overtake an Army jeep or convoy, or brake too fast if the cops order one to halt. This has found its echo in the killing of the executive gunned down last week in Lucknow
Apart from those gunned down by cops, there are those lynched by goons who seem to enjoy luxurious impunity in Yogi raj. The same fear and apprehension that I have seen in the eyes of the Kashmiris, I have begun to noticing on the faces of the young in Uttar Pradesh. They are not just jobless, but also living in fear of these goon brigades, the so-called senas raised by the political mafia to hound and spread terror.
If the Kashmir Valley has a long list of ‘missing men’, the state of Uttar Pradesh has its own list of families who have lost their bread-winners to encounter killings and lynchings in the mufassil towns and qasbas.
The growing collapse of governance under a clueless Chief Minister is now affecting not just everyday life of citizens, but even historic structures. Visitors to the world-famous Taj Mahal have been attacked and bitten by monkeys in the last few months. Not to overlook the stray dog menace at the complex. And here lies another similarity, with Srinagar. It is risky to walk down the roads of Srinagar with stray dogs roaming around in large numbers.
If one is driving around the Kashmir Valley, two aspects have to be kept in mind – never overtake an Army jeep or convoy, or brake too fast if the cops order one to halt. This has found its echo in the killing of the executive gunned down last week in Lucknow.
What if he wasn’t an executive with a reputed international company? Instead, an auto-driver or a rickshaw puller. What if he was from a religious minority community? Probably a tag of ‘terrorist’ or ‘anti-nationalist’ would have been pinned onto the victim and perhaps, the killer cops would have been proclaimed as heroes and even rewarded.
This ‘new Uttar Pradesh’ is making people quickly fed up with the bumbling Yogi Adityanath government.