There are deep fault lines in the Uttar Pradesh administration along allegiance of officers to factions within the Mulayam Singh Yadav household. The violence in Mathura appears to be a direct manifestation of that.
The manner in which the district magistrate and the superintendent of police handled the situation speaks volumes. In the higher echelons of administration, it is no secret that they were working at cross-purposes.
The reasons are not far to seek. The DM owed allegiance to Ram Gopal Yadav and the SP belonged to the Akhilesh Yadav camp. Ram Vriksh Yadav, who squatted on the government’s 240-odd acre horticulture land in Jawahar Bagh and occupied even defence land, derived his power from his proximity to one of these factions. As a result, the DM was wary of taking action against the encroachers, whose number had swelled to over 2,500 since 2014. Similarly, the SP was driven to action to put down the rival camp, not to uphold the rule of the law.
An incoherent and clueless administration responded to the situation in a clumsy manner despite reports that Yadav and his associates had amassed arsenal to thwart the police. For the first time in the violent history of the state, an additional superintendent of police - Mukul Dewedi - was dragged inside by criminals and ruthlessly beaten up before being shot in the forehead. For his colleague Santosh Yadav, death came quick as he was shot in the eye. As of now 22 bodies of members of a breakaway sect of Baba Jai Gurudev have been recovered from the spot.
The whole episode has exposed a deep-seated malaise that afflicts the Akhilesh Yadav government. It is beset by various factions within the Mulayam clan. In this context, the story of how the situation in Mathura came to this pass bears relevance.
A senior police officer who served in Mathura for many years pointed out that in 2014, two years after the death of Baba Jai Gurudev, his disciple Ram Vriksh Yadav descended on Mathura under the banner of Azad Bharat Vidhik Vaicharik Kranti Satyagrah along with 250-odd followers from Madhya Pradesh. They were allowed to hold a one-day dharna at Jawahar Bagh, a piece of land belonging to the horticulture department.
However, Yadav pitched tents and started mobilising supporters from other parts of the country to encroach the piece of land. Within two years, the 240-acre land turned into a huge tenement of aggressive inhabitants owing allegiance to the splinter sect of Jai Gurudev. The area developed a parallel network of water supply and other facilities like sewerage, roads and schools. Since Yadav claimed to have the blessings of the Mulayam household, the administration chose to ignore the development till the issue was taken to the high court by a local lawyer, Vijay Pal Singh.
The administration found its ostrich-like approach untenable when the high court gave it specific instruction to clear the area of squatter lest it would be taken as contempt of court. Finding themselves in a piquant situation, senior officials discussed the situation in detail but did not reach any concrete decision or draw a define action-plan. Given Ram Vriksh Yadav’s proximity to a faction in the Samajwadi Party chief’s family, senior officials dithered and let junior level officials to take charge of the situation.
On Wednesday when Dwivedi and his SHO Santosh Yadav reached the area, they were just pushed into a situation of intense violence which they had not anticipated. They were immediately deserted by police constables who too were taken off-guard by the attacks and ran for their lives.
Ironically, while Dwivedi and Yadav were killed in the most brutal manner, all top ranking officers seem to have suitably firewalled themselves by swearing allegiance to factions in the Mulayam household. It would be naïve to see Mathura violence as an aberration. There have been umpteen number of instances in UP where police personnel surrendered meekly to criminals and even allowed them to lynch their officers.
This is a new trend with sinister portends. It can further deepen the fault lines that already exist and create an unbridgeable chasm between vital arms of the government.
Updated Date: Jun 03, 2016 18:27 PM