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UP sinks into lawlessness

This time it was in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh. Mob violence was triggered allegedly because several carcasses of cows were found in a nearby forest.  Station House Officer, Inspector  Subodh Kumar Singh, was first attacked with stones and later shot at. A bystander was also killed. Of course, anti-social elements were at work. Singh was no doubt doing his duty. It was an attack on the authority of the state. Singh was the first investigating officer of the 2015 lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri village. He had collected evidence in the case and arrested several people suspected to be behind Akhlaq’s murder. The outrage had caused protests all over the country. The accused are on bail. Singh has now been killed over the same issue of cow slaughter. The victim was not a citizen but a police officer. So it was an attack on the state. Singh was accompanied by his force and his murder was not an isolated case. The crowd thought it could act in such a heinous manner as the Hindutva-led government would look the other way. The UP government is sold on cow protection. It also supports encounter killing. Vigilantism has a free hand.

This attack on the authority of the state signals a new low in the politics of the country today where the normal course for the police would then be to file cases against unknown persons for how can anyone identify a mob? The enormity of this crimes in UP is equivalent to the violence unleashed by Maoists in central India. The outrage has to be dealt with by the highest authority with due regard to the rule of law. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thundered against such vigilantism. The Supreme Court has ruled against it. Exemplary punishment is called for. Yet all this is easier said than done.

A deeper conspiracy to kill Subodh Kumar Singh cannot be ruled out as he was a cop who was not co-opted by the state to carry out its diktat. Interestingly, UP Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath has asked the police to arrest cow slaughterers but he was silent on what action would follow on those who killed the police officer. Clearly, in Adityanath’s UP the cow is more revered than human beings. And even police officials who carry out their constitutional duties are dispensable. He wants to co-opt everyone, including government officials on to the Hindutva bandwagon.

 

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