Violence involving right wing Hindu organisations from various parts of Uttar Pradesh is proving to be an embarrassment for the Yogi Adityanath government.
The volatile situation even forced chief minister Yogi Adityanath to send a clear message of ‘zero tolerance’ on law and order front.
The Saharanpur violence on Friday was latest in the series of incidents that have rocked the state after the BJP formed the government in U.P.
Led by local MP Raghav Lakhanpal, BJP workers took out a ‘shobha yatra’ in Sadak Dudhli village on April 20 to mark the birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar without seeking permission from the district administration.
Violence broke out after members of the Muslim community pelted the procession with stones. BJP workers retaliated by setting shops on fire, damaged the divisional commissioner’s car and also attacked the residence-cum-camp office of Saharanpur senior superintendent of police, Luv Kumar.
After the CM took a tough stand on the issue, an FIR was lodged against BJP workers and eight people were arrested on Monday.
A controversy erupted in Agra last week when international models visiting Taj Mahal were asked to remove their saffron stoles before entering the monument.
The activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal staged a demonstration at the eastern gate of Taj Mahal on April 22.
The union government, however, denied any ban on religious symbols at the monument.
“There is no restriction on colour, religious design or inscriptions on the scarves or dresses of visitors coming to see the Taj Mahal,” said Union minister for culture and tourism Mahesh Sharma.
On April 22, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists manhandled a circle officer at Fatehpur Sikri, 36 kilometres from Agra. Later in the evening, the protestors attacked the Sadar police station.
The agitators also torched the motorcycle of sub-inspector Santosh Kumar at Pratappura crossing. The incident was the fallout of a local dispute involving members of two communities.
In another incident in Mathura on April 22, a delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), led by Meghshyam Gautam who runs a car parking lot, met SSP Mohit Gupta to complain against the misbehaviour of sub-inspector Pawan Agnihotri.
However, the meeting took an ugly turn after a heated exchange of words and a BJYM activist was arrested.
In Meerut, a youth was assaulted by alleged activists of Hindu Yuva Vahini (HVY) on April 13 when he was going to drop his fiancé at her home.
On April 12, HYV activists barged into a house in Shastri Nagar locality of Meerut and dragged out a couple – a Muslim man and a Hindu girl – and reportedly roughed them up.
State convenor of HYV PK Mall, however, denied involvement of the organisation in any of the incidents.
“No member of the Hindu Yuva Vahini is involved in any act of violence. It is a deliberate attempt to defame the organisation. All of a sudden everyone is claiming to be a member of the Vahini, especially those who are breaking the law. It is a conspiracy and police must look into it,” said Mall.
The HYV was set up Adityanath in 2002.
Last week, UP’s new director general of police, Sulkhan Singh had said that no vigilantism in the name of cow slaughter and harassment of girls would be tolerated.
Manoj Dixit, head of department of public administration, Lucknow University, said the BJP government needs to check rowdy elements breaking the law in the name of cow vigilantism and social policing.
“If the government fails of check acts of violence, what will be the difference left between previous Samajwadi Party government and the present Yogi regime? The SP government’s failure on law and order front was one of the reasons that led to its defeat in the assembly election,” he added.