Uttar Pradesh has been one of the most challenging states to govern in the country. The state has suffered and struggled for decades in many aspects. Adding to their problems was rampant lawlessness which had pushed the state backward. And the glaring reason for the poor law and order was criminalization of politics.
In assembly elections of 2017, BJP came to power in a landslide victory which changed governance gears. Yogi Adityanath was made the CM and the state under him is seeing fundamental changes on the ground. The new administration has been quite successful in tackling the law and order situation and improvements are wholly visible at the grass root levels.
After assuming power, CM Yogi has categorically taken on different criminal elements head-on with significant success. The following steps give an insight into the attempts made by the Yogi govt to improve law and order in the state within an year.
Anti Romeo squads
One of the most effective projects undertaken by the Yogi govt is enforcement of anti romeo squads across the state. This has created a terror in the minds of the eve teasers by it’s effective implementation. Anti romeo squad had two purposes. Firstly, it was made to reduce the menace of eve teasing and secondly it was introduced to protect young girls. The results emanating from the same have been phenomenal.
Teams comprising of police sub inspector, two constables including a woman were given the task to identify such miscreants in public. Two to three teams were deployed in one police station and they moved around schools, colleges, universities, parks or malls where there were large numbers of girls or women population. After applying this initiative, the drive has made it into the list of state govt achievements. Six cases a day on an average have been registered and around 3003 criminals have been charged over a nine month period. Warnings were issued to 9.33 lakh people and over 21 lakh individuals were scrutinized in almost eight lakh visits. Anti romeo squads have set an example of how governance can be effectively used to protect common citizens on the ground and not just on paper.
Mafia politician nexus is the lifeblood for criminals to thrive in the state in various forms and formats. Yogi govt brought one common effective way to curb Mafia problem. The state cabinet approved a tough law to fight the Mafia called UPCOCA ( Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act) and it was designed on the lines of the one made in Maharashtra. The provisions of the act were strict and included measures to strike at the heart of every type of Mafia. In accordance with UPCOCA, it can pronounce sentences upto seven years and fine the accused in tune of 15-25 lakhs. The law also provides necessary powers to attach illegal properties. The bill passed in the winter session of the assembly encompasses different kinds of organized crime including land mafia, sand mafia, illegal mining, cow smuggling, human trafficking, kidnapping, manufacturing liquor, terrorism and education mafia. Adding to that, a special court will be instituted to hear such cases and the accused or a suspect can only be charged after taking approval from the said inspector general of police. Along with this law, CM Yogi has taken some tough measures against the Mafia. Issuing a warning to the land mafia, CM Yogi had said that the properties should immediately be returned to the rightful owners or else his government would launch an offensive in two months. He also ordered action against the food grain and ration Mafia, while directing the officials to submit reports of closed sugar mills in the state within a stipulated time. Meanwhile, more than 6.33 lakh students of class X and XII didn’t appear for their UP board exams and it was attributed to heavy crackdown on the education Mafia. Online allotment of examination centres, installation of CCTV cameras at schools and roping a special task force were steps enforced to clamp mass cases of cheating in the state. The new law and the prompt action taken by Yogi together will help eradicate the cancer of all types of mafia in the state.
The biggest contribution in restoring law and order is the stupendous crackdown on criminals by the UP police. They have been arrested, killed in encounters and a sense of fear has been instilled into them. This can be attributed to the UP police who in turn were given a free hand by the administration to bring down the crime rate. Especially after Khasganj violence, CM Yogi directed police chiefs of all districts to reduce crime rate at all costs and this resulted into an impressive display of police prowess. On an average, three ambushes between the forces and the criminals have occurred daily with total encounters nearing close to a 1000. 36 criminals have been killed, close to 200 injured and four men in uniform had to sacrifice their lives in this process. According to data sourced from DGP Headquarters, as many as 1,142 encounters were documented between March 20, 2017 and January 31 this year. NHRC sent notices to the UP govt over the so called manhandling of criminals but CM Yogi seemed unperturbed. Amnesty international went to the media with fake number of people killed in encounters and they were taken to task by the Yogi govt. CM Yogi had asserted that the criminals will be responded in a language they understood and went on to make a ‘bullet for a bullet’ comment which perhaps provided a snapshot of his determination to pin down crime in the state. Even after Kasganj violence, the situation didn’t go out of hand and CM Yogi reiterated that no anarchy like situation will be tolerated. The state did return to normalcy immediately after authorities took action.
Although much still needs to be done, these few steps taken by the Yogi govt were laudable and reflected seriousness on the part of the administration. The current govt has displayed a will to fight which was somewhere missing in the previous administrations. The state has been in hands of regional parties for a long time. May it be SP or BSP, their alternative rise to power every election had affected the state. In the ensuing nexus between politicians and criminals, the Mafia had consolidated their hold over the state. Law and order went for a toss, investments dried up and yes the criminals ruled the roost. All this mess now seems to be changing on the ground. With Yogi at the helm, the criminals are finally experiencing their worst times and the state will hopefully see better days.