In the past one year, Uttar Pradesh has witnessed a spurt in hate crimes, ranging from mob lynching in the name of gau raksha (cow protection), communal violence and targeted violence followed by rumours.
Data accessed from different sources punctures Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s claims of good governance and improved law and order situation. Forget about civilians, the confident Right-wing mob, which has apparently been given a free hand, has not spared even police personnel.
According to FactChecker.in database, 70% of the reported cases in UP were of bovine-related violence.
Where the Mob Rules the Roost
There were a total of five deaths in 21 mob attacks in 2018. It started with the lynching of 45-year-old Qasim Qureshi in Hapur in western UP. On June 18, 45-year-old Qasim was lynched, and his companion, a 65-year-old farmer, Samayuddin, was brutally beaten over rumours of cow slaughter in Hapur district's Bajhera Khurd village. A photo of him being dragged in the presence of policemen which went viral later, forcing the state police chief to offer an apology. The video showed Qasim lying on the ground with his clothes torn off. In the one-minute video – filed almost at the same time, he can be heard writhing in pain and begging for water, which the mob refused.
Also Read: Another Victim of Lynching Over Cattle Theft in UP
Shahrukh Khan, a 22-year-old tailor in Dubai, who had come home to Bholapur Hindoliya village of Bareilly district, was beaten to death on August 28 over suspicion of cattle theft. The post-mortem report revealed kidney and liver failure due to severe beating.
On December 3, in Siyana area of Bulandshahr district, police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was shot dead, triggering a massive political row across the country. A civilian Sumit of Chingrawathi village was also killed during the same incident of mob violence. Initially, district convenor of Bajrang Dal, Yogesh Raj, was named as the key accused but nearly after a month, the UP police have arrested a taxi driver based in Delhi, claiming him as the key accused. However, the police also accepted that Yogesh Raj continued to remain an accused, but was still 'absconding'. The police is clueless even after 28 days of the incident,
Following the incident, for the very first time, over 80 civil servants sought Adityanath’s resignation from the CM’s post.
In the latest instance of mob violence, a police constable was killed on Saturday, December 29, in Ghazipur, eastern Uttar Pradesh, in an incident of stone-pelting, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally. This is the second incident of a police official dying in a mob attack in UP in this month alone.
When questioned about the reason why crime had gone out of control in recent times, Abdul Hafiz Gandhi, spokesperson of Samajwadi Party, told NewsClick, "The UP Chief Minister has a pre-planned agenda to divide the society on communal lines to reap political dividends in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. That's why in the Bulandshahr killing, his whole emphasis was on cracking the alleged cow slaughter case and not the inspector's murder by a lynch mob. The CM has a track record of delivering venomous speeches. He believes in devastation and not development. This defines his whole politics. I think this is very unfortunate for the people of Uttar Pradesh."
Media reports based on RTI queries and investigations show that ever since Adityanath took over in March last year, there have been 2,351 shootouts in ‘encounters’ causing 63 deaths spread over 24 districts, till August 4 this year. Far from being troubled by this upsurge in extra-judicial killings, Yogi’s government has boasted that this is a sign of its “resolve to clean up the state of crime and criminals.” In November, a worried Supreme Court issued a notice to the UP government over the encounters.
An analysis of the reports shows that members of state-backed Right wing organisations, like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, have been involved in these incidents, and 55% of the victims and 86% of those killed in cow-related hate crimes belong to the Muslim community.
In 2018, most cow-related hate crimes including deaths were recorded in Uttar Pradesh. With four cow-related crimes leading to five lynchings, the situation in the state is becoming worrisome each year.
According to reports of organisations like People’s Campaign for Secularism, Justice and Compassion based in New Delhi, and NewsClick in collaboration with Hate Crime Watch, a multi-organisation effort steered by FactChecker.in, in almost 75% of these incidents, minorities specially Muslims were the main target.
The year 2018 saw the most hate crimes motivated by religious bias in India in the last 10 years. This year also saw a sharp increase in number of death and injuries with the number of deaths touching 30 and at least 305 persons getting injured in such attacks.