Under Adityanath, some crimes enjoy the protection of the Uttar Pradesh police – By Arunabh Saikia
Tara Chand, born into a Dalit family, became Mohammad Tahir in jail…. In June, when he came home on parole, sporting a beard and a skull cap, scores of Hindu vigilantes landed up at his house and beat him up, he alleged. “If you go to the mosque, we will slit your throat and if you wear a skull cap, we will smash your head,” he recalled the men telling him. When the police arrived… Tahir alleged: “The police officer told me: ‘Mulla ji, daadhi halki karwa lo.'” Trim your beard….
This is just one of a growing number of incidents that demonstrate how after years of being dismissed as “fringe”, Hindi vigilante groups in Uttar Pradesh now have the ear of the police and civil administration. The leaders of these groups themselves boast about their newfound power under the Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party government, which came to power in 2017.
“Earlier, we had to fight to get justice for Hindus,” said Nagendra Tomar, the state general secretary of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a militant Hindutva group founded by Adityanath in eastern Uttar Pradesh in 2002, which grew rapidly across the state after he became the chief minister. “Now we use the prashasan (administration), and if that doesn’t work we take the help of the shashan (the government),” said Tomar,… The outcome is that vigilante violence, which would ordinarily be treated as a criminal activity under the law, now often enjoys the protection of the police….