Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, the erstwhile firebrand Hindutva poster boy, has started to flex his ‘iron fist’ and revive his image as a hard taskmaster with regards to dealing with criminals and antisocial elements, even as he completes six months in office next week.
Over the past few weeks, the Uttar Pradesh
Police has intensified policing in the state and gunned down wanted criminals. In fact, in an interview with a private TV network on Saturday, Yogi reiterated that his government would deal sternly with criminals, and bullets fired by them would be met with bullets fired by the cops.
Additionally, the Yogi government has increased the quantum of cash rewards on the heads of wanted criminals, which could be announced at different levels of the police and state home department hierarchy. This is aimed at incentivising cops in working out cases of heinous crimes and boosting the morale of field policemen.
For example, the state principal home secretary or home secretary (police) are now authorised to announce a reward of Rs 5 lakh on a wanted criminal against their authority of Rs 2.5 lakh cash reward earlier. At the lowest level, the senior police superintendent or police superintendent in charge of the district can now announce a cash reward of Rs 25,000 against Rs 5,000 earlier.
Besides, the UP Police has made public the data with regards to the arrest and gunning down of hardened criminals across the state in the current Yogi regime. Between March 20 and September 14, the state police gunned down 15 notorious criminals in 420 encounters.
Meanwhile, 868 criminals carrying rewards on their heads were arrested and in encounters, 88 cops were also wounded in the exchange of fire with criminals.
Soon after Yogi had taken over the reigns of UP, the law and order
situation had considerably improved and there was marked step-up in general policing and traffic management.
However, as weeks went by and the initial euphoria subsided, the law and order
situation again started to deteriorate with instances of loot, robberies, break-ins, murders, kidnappings and caste conflicts showing a rising trend. The Opposition started to corner Yogi over his alleged loose grip over the police and the state bureaucracy. Some even demanded his resignation.
At the same time, some other incidents that tarred the Yogi dispensation over its purported lackadaisical approach towards public welfare included the Gorakhpur tragedy, wherein several children died over alleged oxygen shortage, while the official machinery went into a perpetual denial mode. It caused an irreparable damage to the reputation of the government.
Besides, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) flagship Rs 36,000-crore crop loan waiver scheme also came under the scanner when the media started to report about some beneficiaries getting loan waiver certificates of amounts less than Rs one, while the government had announced waiver loans of up to Rs one lakh.
Since Yogi is now elected to UP legislature and will soon resign from his Gorakhpur parliamentary seat, he is consciously reviving his tough image, while taking a corresponding posturing on public platforms and during his interaction with the media.