Barely a week after the Uttar Pradesh Police professed their commitment to the safety and security of citizens of the state, a horrifying incident of brutality by the men in khaki has been reported from Mainpuri district. A man was allegedly subjected to third-degree torture by cops after he approached them to file a complaint about his wife’s abduction-rape. The two-wheeler-borne couple had been waylaid by three persons travelling in a car. They kidnapped the woman, gang-raped her and later dumped her a few kilometres away. Cops reached the spot after the husband made an SOS call to the police helpline. To his utter shock, they not only accused him of filing a false complaint, but also assaulted him. The SHO concerned and other erring officials have been suspended, but the incident has left the state police’s reputation in tatters.
On June 29, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had taken to Twitter to lash out at the Yogi Adityanath government, alleging that criminals were running riot in the BJP-ruled state. The state police had been quick to hit back and reel off ‘confidence-building’ figures, claiming that crime under all major heads had been down by 20-35 per cent, particularly incidents of dacoity, murder, loot and kidnapping.
The UP Police should realise that statistics and platitudes are not enough to make people feel safe from the lawbreakers, uniformed or otherwise. The state has already been witness to two spine-chilling highway crimes in recent years. In May 2017, robbers had dragged four women out of a car and raped them in a field, besides gunning down the husband of one of the victims at a deserted spot off the Yamuna Expressway in Gautam Buddh Nagar district. In July 2016, six members of a car-borne family were waylaid in Bulandshahr district; a teenager and her mother were gang-raped and robbed of their jewellery. The impunity with which criminals have been operating underscores the law-enforcers’ laxity. Heads must roll whenever the latter become indistinguishable from the former. A sharp rap to the state government from PM Narendra Modi, who calls himself UP’s ‘adopted son’, is also direly needed.