Whose morale and pride important? Of law enforcers or of law breakers?

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There are media reports suggesting that Shreshtha Thakur, the woman police officer of Syana circle in district Bulandshahar of Uttar Pradesh, who stood up against local BJP leaders and sent five of them to jail for creating obstacles in discharging government duties, was transferred to Bahraich on 2 July 2017. This comes barely about 10 days after the above incident took place. It clearly shows that nothing has changed in Uttar Pradesh despite tall claims made by the BJP which came to power recently in March 2017.

It is noteworthy that on 22 June 2017, the woman police officer stood up to local BJP leaders. She and her team had pulled up a local BJP leader for not carrying proper documentation for his vehicle. He was issued a challan after which he allegedly misbehaved with cops, leading to his arrest. Subsequently, other BJP leaders arrived there and objected to the action of police, and they argued with police. When the arrested BJP leader was produced before the district court, a group of BJP workers at the scene began abusing and raising slogans against the police. The woman police officer had then arrested some of the BJP workers for obstructing the discharge of duties by the police.

A video of the above incident had gone viral on social media.

The media reports clearly suggest that the above woman police officer was transferred following a meeting of a delegation of the BJP’s 11 MLAs and MP with the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the issue. The local BJP leaders had linked her transfer with their pride and pressed the BJP high command to initiate action against the said women police officer. A local BJP leader has been quoted by the media clearly admitting that her transfer was essential to keeping intact the pride of BJP workers and leaders.

Though it has been claimed that she was one of the 244 police officers transferred in the state, the motive is clear to transfer her to a distant place for having taken action against the local leaders of the ruling party.

Earlier also, in the month of May, a young woman IPS officer Charu Nigam was publicly berated and rebuked by the BJP MLA from Gorakhpur Sadar Radha Mohan Das Agarwal.

The BJP government led by Yogi Adityanath came into power just about three months back. These types of incidents clearly show as to how the local BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh are behaving much in the same manner as leaders of the Samajwadi Party did during the previous government’s rule.

This is not acceptable from a party which makes tall claims of being a disciplined party and promises to restore law and order in the State. This also reflects very poorly on the police leadership in the state. It is the duty of the police leadership to protect the young police officers, more so a woman police officer, when they are performing their duties with full dedication in accordance with law without getting scared of the powerful lobbies. It is unfortunate that instead of helping and protecting such police officers who were strictly enforcing the laws, the Government of the State is supporting the local political leaders of the ruling party who have violated the laws and have behaved arrogantly with the police officers on duty.

If this type of behaviour continues, the days are not far when the BJP rule in the State will also go to the same low levels which were touched during the previous government’s rule. In fact, barring the initial bravado and euphoria of the first few days when the Yogi government came into power, the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh has gone back to the same level as it existed during the previous government’s role, if not worse than that. The crime situation and the law and order situation have not improved. There have been repeated caste riots and crimes against women. The government appears to be having little control. And, with these types of incidents taking place where police officers performing their lawful duties are punished, you cannot expect much improvement either.

The government has to decide – whose morale and pride are more important. Of the honest law enforcers? Or, of the law breakers who are loyal workers of the party in power? Any wrong priority chosen at this initial phase of the new government will accelerate its drift down the slope of lawlessness. Once the journey down the slope begins, it becomes difficult to apply brakes. And, Uttar Pradesh is one state which would be difficult to control once the unidirectional downfall begins. Yogi Adityanath should know that the initial “Yogi-Yogi” chants have already died down. The honeymoon period is over. It is his performance, and not rhetoric, which will make or break him. In fact, his poor performance may also adversely affect Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 2019 elections.

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