I still remember the summer of 2012. No, it’s not that I had some breakthrough back then, but because the great Indian political circus saw the rise of a youth leader – Akhilesh Yadav.
Leader? Yes, because honestly, I never heard that name before 2012. And the way he turned the fortune of Samajwadi Party was no less than a stupendous tale. I kind of liked him at first. The guy who was an inherent scion of the Samajwadi fraternity, who could have easily gone up to his ‘big daddy’ and demanded a pre-eminent rank in the band, started his political journey from a low step and made it large on his own!
Mr. Yadav claims to be a socialist, inspired by Ram Manohar Lohiya; owns bachelor’s and master’s degree in environmental engineering. Contested and won from Kannauj in 13th Lok sabha by-elections in 2002, and there was no looking back then onwards. He kept on ascending the ladder in aisles of Uttar Pradesh politics. But the major turn came during 2012 general elections when he picked up the sails of the party and started steering through the dusty roads of UP promising a ‘crime-free state’ and the freedom from ‘Goonda-Raj’. And not only that, he kept Shivpal Yadav – his notorious uncle away from the election campaign and promised no place for rowdies in the cabinet if his party won. As a result, Samajwadi Party managed to wipe off all its opponents and managed to win a clear majority in the state. Furthermore, this Samajwadi prince made it to the throne of Uttar Pradesh.
So, doesn’t above story sounds like a tale of a true leader? Shouldn’t he be an inspiration for others?
Well, if you read the crime statistics of UP, it doesn’t look like he quite fits the image of a ‘socialist leader’, and UP seems to be far – far away from being crime free.
The recent Bulandshahr gang rape case is just another example of the rusting law and order situation in the state. The Bulandshahr gang-rape incident had taken place when six members of a Noida-based family were traveling to Shahjahanpur to attend a funeral on July 29. At national highway 91, passing through Bulandshar, a gang stopped this car and dragged out the 13-year-old girl and her mother in a field nearby and raped them at gunpoint.
The thing that amazed me the most was Akhilesh Yadav’s reaction towards the Bulandshahr incidence. With the state Assembly elections barely six months away, Mr. Yadav, who has flooded the airwaves with advertisements claiming to be a governance superstar, delivered an ultimatum to his police force to “solve” the case in double-quick time.
Sources say that Mr. Yadav was so panic driven the day following the incident that he threatened to change the entire top brass of the police if they failed to solve the Bulandshahr case within 24 hours. This led the blame game and botches begin. The whole drift was pinned upon the nomadic Bawariya tribe, which is infamous in Western UP, Delhi, Harayana and Rajasthan for carrying out notorious activities to make quick money by using similar tactics.
And out of the estimated gang of seven, three have been already arrested and identified within hours. Really?! Have they actually committed this or were they usual suspects caught for a cover-up? Because a media report also says that the victims were made to identify the culprits while still in the state of shock, and police is still unable to trace the gang leader.
Not only this, the victims told the team of NCW that the doctor who conducted their medical examination mistreated and berated the minor girl. The team of NCW looking after the Bulandshahr gang-rape case also pointed out that there were no mentions of POCSO act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) sections in the FIR, and the cops provided no concrete answer for this and told that they are yet to add it. POCSO act was formulated in 2012 to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of any person below the age of 18 years.
Also, immediately after the incident caught attention, Akhilesh Yadav sent a cheque amounting Rupees one lakh to the victims via a senior official of police. Seriously, do you think that this way you can compensate the pain of a 13-year-old and her mother who saw each other getting roughed up for no reason? Hainn, Mr. Yadav?! I mean is this the same Akhilesh Yadav who announced a package of financial help worth Rupees 20 lakh and a government job to Pandey family during Nirbhaya rape case in the capital in 2012? So, why has your generosity shrunk this time, Mr. Yadav? Was that a politically motivated publicity stunt? From his actions, it seems like Mr. Akhilesh Yadav wanted to dispose of this matter as soon as possible.
The father of the minor victim told that his child has barely spoken since the attack. It should not be difficult to imagine the mental trauma the victims would be going through.
But hail the UP cabinet minister Azam Khan, who is popular for making insensitive and lewd comments, did not hold back this time too. Azam Khan bizarrely suggested an “opposition conspiracy”. According to him, people can stoop to any level to defame the government. I don’t know whether he made this statement representing his standards and shrewdness, but this had surely aggravated victim’s family.
The victim has now moved to the Supreme Court demanding FIR to be registered against Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Azam Khan and erring police officials. In her petition, the victim also demanded the transfer of this case to New Delhi, a court-monitored probe and security and rehabilitation for her family.
However, the Allahabad high court on Friday had already ordered a CBI inquiry into the Bulandshahr case observing that it was “not satisfied” with the police investigation so far. Significantly, the court had made it clear at the outset that it intended to “monitor the investigation into the Bulandshahr case” and not dispose of the matter which is being heard as a Public Interest Litigation, titled “In the matter of rape of mother and daughter at NH 91”.
According to a media report, the ‘exclusive’ videos of rapes and nude prints of the victims are being sold in the shops across UP, right under the nose of police and administration. This should give you an idea about the extent of the crime against women which goes unreported.
The Bulandshahr case jolted the administration because the victims blew the whistle. But what of other victims, who choose to stay quiet and continue to live on with a wounded soul, because – for one, the cops who should ideally protect them and help them get justice, won’t heed their cries because they are too busy flattering the influential ‘bhaiyas’.
And second, the pathetic reaction of our society towards the victims. Well, this is not the only the case with UP and this is not only about the victimization of women, but the trends of theft, dacoity, violent crimes and communal violence are on the surge and UP scores to be the worse, while the khaki guys seem to be clueless and lethargic as usual.
No one needs a proof to justify the role of police in the cases of loots and dacoity; it’s an old – rotten fact now. But if you ask me, Mr. Yadav came to power because people wanted change. He was a fresh face, a young blood who promised freedom from crime, freedom from ‘goonda raj’, freedom from corruption and good governance etc. But is it happening? The crime and corruption rates are surging as ever. And at the end of the day, Manna Dey’s epic composition makes a lot of sense:
“kasme vaade pyar vafa sab, baaten hain baton ka kya
Koyi kisi ka nahi ye jhoothhe, Naate hain naato ka kya”