Lucknow: The Badaun district located in the western part of Uttar Pradesh is once again in the news for the wrong reason and it is the gruesome gangrape and murder of a 50-year-old Aanganwadi worker, which happened under the limits of Ughaiti police station on January 3. But along with the case, the focus has also been turned on the lapses in the UP Police’s action.
Former UP Director General of Police (DGP) Vikram Singh believes that the police department he once led is not taking lessons from the big incidents. “You will find incompetence and amateur behaviour of the police department in all the cases which has made Uttar Pradesh infamous—be it the Hathras case or the Badaun case. The police is making mistakes after mistakes and no accountability is being set,” he told NewsClick.
The thing that came as a shock in the Badaun case was the police not registering the missing complaint when the kin of the deceased gangrape victim went to the Ughaiti police station. The complaint was registered after a delay of many hours and at first, the sexual assault was denied. It became clear only when the post-mortem report revealed what the middle-aged woman underwent. However, the Badaun district administration, instead of taking correct steps, launched a probe to find how the post-mortem report was leaked to the media.
Police have said that the post-mortem examination confirmed that the woman sustained several injuries including broken ribs, fractured legs and that her lungs were attacked with a heavy object. Her private parts were "severely brutalized", the media reported. Surprisingly, the FIR in this case was lodged only after two days of the incident and at first, the main accused, the priest was absconding. Now, all the accused have been sent to jail. The priest was caught by the villagers and then handed over to the police.
The Badaun District Magistrate had accepted the lapses by their police department in this case and the names of the concerned station house officer and also the outpost in charge was taken to the police books.
Last week, when bullets were showered on a history sheeter in an alleged gang-war in the state capital of Lucknow, the police, which was hardly 70 meters away from the spot, took 18 minutes to reach. However, the police were quick to arrest an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lawmaker for making an “objectionable” statement from Amethi, the constituency of BJP MP Smriti Irani.
Just a few months back, contentious actions of the police were again seen in the Hathras rape case. A teenage girl from the Bulghadi village in Hathras district lost her battle with life on September 29, 2020. In that case too, the police took more than five days to arrest the main accused as named by the slain victim in her dying declaration. The girl was raped and attacked on September 14, 2020; then she was taken first to the police station where she took the name of the accused and narrated the crime, and yet, her medical samples were not taken on time. Later, the CBI in its charge sheet highlighted the lapses of local police and said the police did not take down the woman’s oral statement at the Chandpa police station on the day of the crime. Police twice ignored her allegations of sexual assault, which led to loss of forensic evidence. “Her statement was written five days later and she was medically examined for sexual assault only on September 22 — eight days after the alleged crime,” the media reports said.
Commenting on this recurring pattern of lapses, former DGP Singh said, “The mistakes here that I see are delay in registering the official complaints, lack of trust on police by the people, and the failure of leadership, because if the police station does not get active on receiving a complaint on wireless then there are senior officials like CO, ASP, DSP and others who should get going in action.”
He further said that not applying Section 166 A, which was made after the Nirbhaya gangrape case, has also resulted in making police a bit negligent towards the complaints. This particular section was brought in to make policemen accountable for not taking action at the right point of time, Singh said.
A former Lucknow-based scribe under the condition of anonymity described that the reason behind increased crime in Uttar Pradesh is the transfer of officials and posting on the basis of jacks.
“There are officers who help the police officials in getting posted in their favourite districts. There is a corruption and it seems that it is not in the knowledge of our Chief Minister because previously the CM has taken strict action against few of the cops, but it is not happening now,” he said, adding, “an immediate restructure of the police system is needed because officers are not performing as per the expectations.”
According to data available in the public domain, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest increase in crime against women, at 66.7%, in four years till 2019. In 2019, UP alone accounted for nearly 15% of all registered crimes against women in India. With 59,853 total registered cases, the state on average saw 164 such crimes every day.
Madhu Garg, an office bearer of the All India Democractic Women Association (AIDWA), commenting on the deteriorating state of affairs in UP said, “The government has lost it. Instead of curbing the crime rate it is going after young interfaith couples and is harassing them in the name of the law known as the ‘Love Jihad’ law. The priority of the government should be working actively to bring things in order. Encounter killings and being twitter-savvy is not working at all for the government and they should take lessons from it.”