Vivek Tiwari, an employee of the ‘Apple’ company was the latest to be shot dead by the Uttar Pradesh police in Lucknow - the state capital. It is unbelievable that two police personnel of the rank of constable had the audacity to fire at a person inside a car who was travelling with a woman. Who has given them the authority to fire with such impunity and with no fear of getting indicted? We all know the answer. It is the present ruling dispensation in UP which has created an environment of extreme impunity for the police force which has claimed another innocent life.
Is it just an isolated incident or is there something simmering within the state for the last few months, especially since the new Yogi government has been sworn in? If one goes through the comments posted on the web pages of the newspapers that covered this brutal murder, one is aghast at the kind of environment that is built in the state. Instead of being sympathetic to the victim’s family, the commentators who are believed to be genuine names write: “When police stops you should stop. Why run when you have haven’t done something wrong. When you run away from the police you are the suspect, terrorists act the same way. So whatever you are or whoever you are please cooperate with the police. This is important for law and order”.
In another comment, one challenger writes: “YOGI JI HAS BROUGHT IN SO MUCH OF DISCIPLINE IN THE LIVES OF UP. THE POLICE ARE UNDER PRESSURE TO PERFORM AND BRING IN ORDER. THIS PERSON DID NOT STOP FOR VERIFICATION. POLICE SEEMS TO HAVE DONE THEIR JOB AS IT HAPPENED AT MIDNIGHT. SO WHY BLAME ANYONE? HAD IT BEEN A TERRORIST NOT WANTING TO STOP, THE SAME POLICEMEN WOULD HAVE GOT A MEDAL FOR BRAVERY”. This is the status of the environment in which the people of the state are living. This environment has deliberately been created by the Yogi government.
Vishal, a friend of mine who hails from UP, posted a comment on my Facebook wall a few months ago regarding an article that I had written on the fake encounters unleashed by Yogi Adityanath government. He tried to convince me that the encounters were necessary to maintain law and order in the state. Just a few days before that an employee of BHEL was shot dead in Noida.
Adityanath’s ‘Encounter’ Raj
The law and order situation is really precarious in UP. The CM had promised to finish crimes in the state, and the modus operandi was and is to conduct encounters of criminals. Just recently, crossing all limits, a live encounter was also exhibited by the UP police.
Bravo! What a performance. After all what do you expect from a government led by a CM who himself had idolised such squads in the form of Yuva Vahini- the armed wing of Adityanath that has led to intimidation and killing of people including a police constable in Panchrukhiya village in Mahrajganj district of UP. Now, whilst in power, more than 2000 encounters have been conducted in which over 200 people have been killed.
I happened to interact with a team of women activists who inquired into a dozen of such encounters. To my astonishment, all those who were killed in such encounters were either Muslims or Dalits and all of them were living in abject poverty. In one case, the individual was a mentally retarded person and extremely harmless in nature. Still he was shown as a threat to society and shot dead.
Police: Gangsters or Protectors?
But where does this exercise of eliminating people lead to. This has led to a situation where the police is supposedly the biggest gangster of the state. It has become a killing machine with all impunity to kill at free will. The license to kill does not just end by killing targeted enemies as supposedly desired and designed by the UP chief minister, rather the immunity given to the cops has turned them into assaulters.
The latest case of blatant misuse of authority is the killing of Vivek Tiwari. The metamorphosis of the state police into an “assault squad” is being witnessed in UP currently. In this change of environment, which is being brought out deliberately by the present regime of UP, the cognitive capacity of the police has been corrupted. This is bound to happen due to the fact that the police are ideologically based on the tenets of ‘Yuva Vahini’ which was used as an assaulting organisation in the past. But the transformation of the police force from a unit of defence to a unit of assault will not only limit to targeted killing, rather it will reach to the doorsteps of even those who are not enlisted. Vivek Tiwari is one in this category.
The killing spree has to stop and the cases taken up by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) in the SC must be advocated staunchly to ensure that the UP state government is pushed back from this intensive killing spree.