Picture this; a BJP leader is shot dead at point blank range inside a police station by a BSP leader, where he had gone to take refuge. Policemen stood by as mute spectators, unsure how to handle the fight between two political heavy weights, their reflexes blunted by years of political insubordination. The killer escapes unchallenged, though is arrested a couple of hours later. Next day about 150 supporters of the murdered BJP leader barge into the Kaladungi Police Station, burn and loot property worth over 1.25 Crores, stone a policeman to death & try to burn alive another one. This Mayhem by BJP leader’s supporters continued for six hours in broad daylight. And we thought this happens only in Bihar.
While one unequivocally condemns the murder of any person and hopes that the harshest punishment will be meted out by the courts to the murderers of the BJP leader, yet one cannot use this murder to justify the subsequent violence unleashed by his supporters.
Failure on part of the police has been well documented and need not be repeated here. However, what defies common sense is the presence of only 11 policemen, of which 4 were lady constables, in a police station, where a politician has been murdered the night before. But even more surprising is how could 10 policemen not save one of their colleague from being stoned to death! There were firearms in the police station, why were they not used? Were these policemen too scared to act against the BJP leader’s supporters? Firing on a crowd stoning a policeman to death would have been a legitimate act of self defense. Were they too scared of the consequences of such a firing?
Another apparently inexplicable action was to launch the manhunt for killers of the policeman only after 24hrs, thus giving ample time for involved people to flee. Reports of people fleeing from the area, before the police swoop to nab the culprits, are all over the press. Hopefully this was not deliberate.
The Chief Minister, who took three full days to suspend the accused policemen in the recent Ranbir Encounter, tried to suspend the entire staff of the Police Station overnight! Thankfully, the top police guns stood their ground and refused to bow to political pressure. Also surprisingly the Chief Minister, who is also the Home Minister, has not visited Kaladungi till date, deputing the Forest Minister, instead, to represent him. Is the violence not serious enough to merit personal attention by the Chief Minister? Is it not his duty to visit the injured policemen in hospitals and boost their sagging morale? Is it not his duty to visit the family of the policeman brutally stoned to death while on duty and offer condolences? Or are political affiliations hold him back from playing the role of the protector of the State, something which he has sworn to?
While the Chief Minister and “sources” in his office spared no words in deriding the police in public and in press for its failures, one fails to find even one sentence aimed at conveying disgust and anger at the supporters of his own party who had participated in the riots. It would have been in the order of things to hear the CM scolding those supporters and stressing those supporters of BJP should be as disciplined and law abiding as the party itself!
One wonders whether the scale of violence and reaction of the entire government apparatus would have been different if a Congress leader was murdered and Congress supporters tried to riot in a similar manner or if there was a Congress Government in the State. In all probabilities, if the rioters were supporters of a party not in power, be it BJP or Congress, their actions would have been nipped in the bud.
Politics in Uttarakhand has been dipping to new lows every single day. From destructive and dirty politics to corruption, we seem to excel in everything. The only saving grace which can prevent our State from going the Bihar way is that 80% of our population is literate and has access to newspaper. Vivid photographs of policemen being brutally beaten up were splashed all over the State the very next day. To presume that people of this State will not be angry at such political hooliganism and will instead blame the happenings on “crowds & villagers” would be naive. The silent majority speaks only once in 5 years and recent voting patterns indicate the thinking of the average voter. The Kaladungi Mayhem may as well prove to be yet another nail in the coffin of Uttarakhand BJP.
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