Sunday, June 1, 2014

State of Lawlessness

The horrific double gang rape and murder by hanging of two Dalit girls in Uttar Pradesh should have been enough to shock the Akhilesh Yadav government in Lucknow into action over the continuously deteriorating law and order situation in the state. However, such a hope is based on the assumption that the younger Yadav can: (a) do something about it; and (b) wants to do something about it.

Let me put it in the simplest possible words: UP is a lawless state, where the most monstrous of crimes can be committed and the police, a tamed force at best, stands back and allows the perpetrators to get away with it. Of course, to save face, the SP Government prosecutes some of the minions involved in the crime, but the investigation is shoddy and after the initial anger dies down, they are sent free. Otherwise, they are given bail because the State prosecutor does not oppose it and the case is dragged on until nobody can remember a thing about it - that, assuming that the case actually begins its hearings in this decade. Such is the situation in UP.

And why has the SP succeeded in restoring the state to jungle-raj? Because most of the hooligans enjoy political support from the SP. This is not an Akhilesh Yadav government, but a government of his extended family and their loyalists. Everybody is a power center, everybody can act with impunity and the state dare not act against them. Such is the state in UP that nobody is really safe - but Dalits, who have always been with the BSP, are particularly unsafe as the caste-based violence unleashed by the SP's goons spirals out of control.

Clearly, the situation in UP is very grave. Law and order have continuously broken down and a CBI probe will not solve anything, neither will dismissing the State government. The real problem here is that the perpetrators can act without fear and that is directly related to the fact that the police remains beholden to the State government in discharging its duties while the courts are overburdened and understaffed. Police reforms are an anathema to political parties, who would lose their power to control justice; judicial reforms are an anathema because the judiciary can check police lapses. Ultimately, until these two issues are tackled seriously, there will be no end to the gruesome crimes reported from not just UP but all of India. 

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