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BJP leader insults woman IPS: Plain high-handedness or the cutting loose of ‘saffron brigade’ in UP?

India TV Politics Desk Lucknow 08 May 2017, 23:35:50
India TV Politics Desk

An association of IPS officers in Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh has taken strong exception to incidents of the alleged ‘undignified behavior’ of politicians towards the police.

In a strongly-worded statement, the association sought zero tolerance against the high-handedness of politicians – be it in their behavior or their actions. “We are pained by the recent incidents of attacks on the police and the undignified behavior of people’s representatives towards the police establishment. Police forms an intrinsic part of the establishment in implementing the rule of law. IPS Association demands that that the government adopt a zero tolerance policy in such incidents and take action based on a fact-based investigation. This will be a strong step towards establishing the rule of law in the state,” their statement read.

The response comes hours after a young female IPS officer in Chief Minister’s Gorakhpur constituency faced a public reprimand for dispersing a crowd that had blocked roads in protest against some illegal liquor shops in the area. “Don’t cross your limits,” yelled BJP MLA Radha Mohan Das at woman IPS officer Charu Nigam amid a heated argument over the eviction of protesters on Monday morning. While the minister claimed his anger was directed at the officer’s high-handedness in dealing with the protesters – he claimed women and the elderly were manhandled – the officer said the minister lost his cool when he saw the street clear of protesters despite his instructions that they be moved only after his persuasion.

The incident should come as an embarrassment for the ruling party in the state that swept to power on the promise of changing the state of lawlessness that, as per the BJP, had been thrust upon the state by the Samajwadi Party. Today’s incident not only marks the latest in what appears to be a series of similar developments that have marred the state since the BJP’s mammoth win in the state, it also comes as a defiance to repeated reminders from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and CM Adityanath to exercise control and be humble.

BJP president Amit Shah, during his address at the state executive earlier this month, warned workers and leaders against any adventurism and said they should learn to be humble and more responsible. CM Adityanath, too, has on at least two occasions, asked workers to be good in their conduct. On one occasion he, however, blamed some "unscrupulous elements" wearing saffron scarves of indulging in hooliganism and bringing disrepute to the BJP.

However, public incidents of BJP leaders indulging in arguments with upright officers perhaps defeats its own argument that the fringe was responsible for untoward incidents and that the party had no role in it. Sample these.

Not long ago, Raghav Lakhanpal, the young Lok Sabha MP from Saharanpur, led a mob involved in a violent attack on the official residence of the then district SSP Luv Kumar. Angered by the police not giving permission for a procession planned on the anniversary of Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar, angry BJP workers had stormed Kumar's high-security house and vandalised it.

While an FIR related to the violence during the procession does name the BJP MP, the honest and upright police officer was shifted to Noida. When a hue and cry followed the transfer, an official spokesman of the state government said this was a "promotion and not a punishment since he was given a better district"! Better in what terms, only the government would know.

This apart, a mob of young party workers had not long ago manhandled policemen at Kannauj, the parliamentary constituency of Dimple Yadav, wife of former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

There have been other incidents as well where leaders of the ruling party have been caught on tape openly threatening police inspectors of dire consequences if they did not pay heed to matters raised by them. The police officers had secretly recorded the conversations and gave them to their superiors. In its defence, the BJP said its state leaders were only seeking justice for people, insisting that the tone and tenor of the conversation hardly mattered.

Last month, the brother of a senior cabinet minister openly humiliated a constable in Unnao, even telling him that he should mend his ways or else he would be disrobed in public. "Dalal kahin ka, purani sarkaar chali gayi hai, hosh mein rehna warna kapde utarwa doonga" (The old government has gone. Come to your senses or I'll have you disrobed in public), he told a constable over the drowning of some youth in the Ganga river.

Some time back, senior minister Satyadev Pachauri was caught on camera during an inspection making derogatory references to a disabled employee. When disabled people can't work why are they recruited, he asked officials. The minister’s statement came despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion that the word "divyaang" be used instead of 'viklaang' for the differently abled and yet Pachauri called the man a "loola langda" (dumb cripple), which is definitely a pejorative. He later apologised, saying he had been misinterpreted.

The enthusiasm of the BJP and its leaders is understandable. It has been 14 years since they were in power and the mandate that the party has received is probably yet to sink in. It would thus be advisable for the BJP workers and leaders to heed to the repeated reminders of their own leaders to restrain themselves in word and in action. Anything otherwise should be an adventure they undertake at their own peril.

(With IANS inputs)