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Vikas Dubey and 7 Other Cases That Have Defined UP Law and Order Situation Under Yogi Adityanath Rule

By: Pranshu Mishra

CNN-News18

Last Updated: July 12, 2020, 12:39 IST

Gangster Vikas Dubey was shot dead in an encounter, a day after his arrest in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

Gangster Vikas Dubey was shot dead in an encounter, a day after his arrest in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

The BJP government came to power in 2017, riding on a massive campaign against what they termed as “Jungle Raj in Uttar Pradesh”, but these high-profile cases have put the government in the line of fire.

UP’s most wanted Vikas Dubey is dead. Even as the police version of his encounter raises multiple questions, the focus has now shifted to the political implications of the week-long saga that ended with the death of the gangster.

From taking over as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in March 2017 till now, a period of slightly over three years, Yogi Adityanath’s government has had to deal with at least seven such major law and order situations.

The BJP government came to power in 2017, riding on a massive campaign against what they termed as “Jungle Raj in Uttar Pradesh”, but these high-profile cases have put the government in the line of fire.

Immediately after occupying the office of the Chief Minister, Adityanath had stroked controversy with UP Police’s “encounter policy” to eliminate organised crime and mafia from the state. In this backdrop, opposition has also been quick to challenge government’s claims on law and order.

CASE OF VIVEK TIWARI TO INSPECTOR SUBODH KUMAR SINGH

From men in khaki, drunk on power killing an Apple executive Vivek Tiwari in Lucknow in early 2018 to Subodh Kumar Singh, UP police inspector, being killed by cow vigilantes in mob violence later that year, the two deaths had sent shockwaves across the country. They were perceived as two different dimensions of the government’s policy.

Vivek’s killing by cops in Lucknow highlighted the dangers of the encounter policy and letting the cops use guns unrestrained, while Inspector Subodh’s murder showcased dangers of vigilantism in a communally surcharged polity.

KULDEEP SENGAR and SWAMY CHINMAYANAND CASE

These two cases caused major uproar and threatened to dent the image of the BJP as well as the state government. First was that of BJP MLA from Unnao, Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who was convicted for raping a teenager and for the custodial murder of the survivor’s father. The second case was that of former union minister and BJP leader Chinmayanand, who has been accused of raping a law student of his own college.

While Chinmayanand is out on bail, Sengar is serving a life sentence. In both cases, the BJP faced accusations of shielding the accused, and only expelled Sengar after huge public pressure. The state government was also forced to hand over the Sengar case to CBI.

SONBHADRA MASSACRE TO UNNAO RAPE AND MURDER

Post 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the two most horrific cases of crime that shocked the entire nation were those of Dalit tribals being massacred over land dispute in Sobhadra and a rape victim being set ablaze by the accused.

While Sonbhadra Massacre exposed how system works against the poor, the Unnao incident was a glaring proof of slow police response in such cases. CM Adityanath later visited Sonbhadra to meet the victim’s family and announced help to the family.

ANTI-CAA PROTESTS, MAJOR VIOLENCE, 23 DEATHS

December 2019, saw several districts of UP witnessing massive protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. Large scale violence and arsoning was reported from Lucknow and several other cities. The protests were a fall out of a decision taken by the central government but the challenge on the street was felt by the UP government.

The manner in which the government dealt with the protests led to calls for investigations as 23 people died in subsequent police action. Hundreds were arrested, including social activists, lawyers and teachers. There were also several reports of minors being detained illegally and custodial torture.

However amidst all the controversies, Adityananth seemed to have successfully addressed his core Hindutva constituency, while re-iterating his image as a stern administrator who has zero tolerance for violence.

THE PRESENT—VIKAS DUBEY AND HENCEFORTH

Vikas Dubey’s saga is the latest in this long list of law and order challenges faced by the government. That so many policemen were ambushed and killed by a gangster was a huge setback for the police force.

The state force was further embarrassed by the fact that despite 100 police teams and 3000 men in khaki looking for the dreaded gangster at every possible escape route, Dubey was able to avoid arrest, move from Kanpur to Faridabad, Noida and then all the way to Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh where he was finally arrested.

This again posed a serious challenge to Adityanath’s carefully cultivated image of a strict administrator.

The other political fallout of the Vikas Dubey case which would be closely gauged in the state politics is the Brahmin sentiments. The community has more or less stood by the BJP since the Mandal-Kamadal forces disrupted state politics to relegate Congress to the margins.

Congress leader and former union minister Jitin Prasada in the last one week has for one taken a strident position to question the state government.

BJP, however, rejected any suggestions that the case may have a political fallout. Party spokesperson Dr Chandramohan, said, “Yogi Sarkar has worked according to our election manifesto, which said about zero tolerance against crime and criminals. Criminals don’t have a caste”.