As an object lesson, the errant officer deserves to answer questions under the service rules.
There appears to be a one-on-one correspondence between the well-documented brutal and communal conduct of the police in Uttar Pradesh in dealing with the protests against the triad of CAA-NRC-NPP — now evidently a key aspiration on the RSS’ to-do list (after securing the emasculation of Article 370, Ayodhya, and triple talaq) — and the rants of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, a wolf in monk’s clothing, which appear to border on criminality and insanity.
Recently, the SP of Meerut was caught on video yelling in the bylanes of a Muslim locality, asking people “to go to Pakistan”, and informing them in no uncertain terms that he knew how to “fix them”. The district police chief didn’t deny this, explaining to the media later that some in the crowd had raised pro-Pakistan slogans. If that is correct, he should have booked the persons in question under relevant provisions of the law, not responded with communal hollering.
An IPS officer — or for that matter any official of the state acting in the name of our Constitution — is not expected to amplify the ideological vision of the elected representatives in office at any given time. As an object lesson, the errant officer deserves to answer questions under the service rules.
Regretfully, his police superiors see nothing wrong with the SP’s conduct. This is no surprise if we consider the UP chief minister’s disposition. He speaks as though he were a senior Taliban functionary.
In a series of tweets, the CM’s office said last Friday: “Every rioter is shocked. Every demonstrator is stunned. Everyone has been silenced after seeing Yogi Adityanath government’s strict actions. Do whatever now, compensation will be taken from anyone who damages public property. Every violent protester will cry now because there is a Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh.” This and another discgraceful tweet had the hashtag “The Great_CM Yogi”.
Such vituperation is unthinkable in a democracy. In a Western democracy, a trial might have ensued on far less a misdemeanour by an elected leader. Even in Communist China, where Uighurs have been sent to ideological “training camps”, there has not been any official talk of making protesters “cry”, or the government “extracting revenge”, as CM Ajay Singh Bisht, who parades as the monk Adityanath.
The CM shows some gall as his rants come after the murder by the UP police of two dozen protesters in police firing. The presumption is that protesters are Muslims, which is false. But the dead do belong to a particular community, and that tells its own story — one of the police given the licence to shoot when protesters may be identified “through their dress”, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted not long ago. Another datum for comparison — in Hong Kong, rocked by violent protests for seven months, no protester has died in firing by the Chinese police, although there were violent confrontations, and young protesters have shouted pro-America slogans, which should be anathema to Beijing.
As for the confiscation of protesters’ property, the government must satisfy the high court with proof. It must also explain why the UP police went about destroying property.