Rising crime and power cuts add to political heat in UP

Lucknow :  The ghastly rape, murder and public display of bodies of two teenage girls has sent shockwaves across the state where even heinous crimes fail to move people because of their frequency and brazenness.

This incident, coupled with a serious power shortage across the state, has created a situation that has added to the woes of the ruling party which is already reeling under the impact of its rout in the recently held Lok Sabha election.

For the last one month more than a dozen cases of train dacoity have taken place in western UP, adding to the abysmal law and order situation in the state.

The bodies of two cousins, aged 14 and 15, were found hanging from a tree in a village in Ushait area of Badaun district on Wednesday. Till Thursday, the police had not been able to take any concrete action in the matter except registering a report. The two girls had been reported missing from their house on Tuesday night and their bodies were found the next day.

The ghastly incident led to a protest by villagers who alleged that the police was initially reluctant to even register a report. However, later an FIR was lodged against seven persons, including two police constables who were suspended. The alleged involvement of policemen in the case shows the depth to which standards of policing have plummeted in the state.

Incidentally, Badaun is a Samajwadi Party and Yadav stronghold and one of the five seats the SP had won. The MP from here is Dharmendra Yadav, a nephew of SP chief Mulayaam Singh Yadav.

One of the accused Pappu Yadav has been arrested, while two others, Brijesh and Awadhesh, have been identified and the other two are still unknown.

A Delhi report said that the National Commission of Women had taken suo motu cognizance of the Badaun case and set up an enquiry committee that will visit the area soon for its own investigations.

On the other hand, all actions of the Akhilesh Yadav government seem to be motivated out of a desire to appear proactive in the wake of the rout of the Samajwadi Party in the recent Lok Sabha election. He has so far dissolved the state executive of the party, disbanded all subsidiary affiliate organizations, dismissed 36 persons nominated to various departments and corporations and has taken action against some officers.

More than a dozen IPS officers have been transferred and superintendents of police of Lakhimpur and Firozabad have been suspended in the last one week. A series of meetings have already been held on the power sector and officials have been told to meet timelines.

Speaking in Lucknow, Akhilesh Yadav said that his government would continue to take severe action against lax officers. “The officers must perform their duties and those found to be lax will not be spared,” he said.

He also referred to the acute power crisis in the state and blamed the Centre for this. “We are working on transmission generation and distribution of power. The government is working to improve supply. I do not want to point a finger, but we are not getting sufficient power supply from the Centre,” Akhilesh said.

Power cuts in most cities of the state including Lucknow, Varanasi and Noida became severe after May 16. While the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that the SP was “punishing” the people for supporting the BJP in the Lok Sabha election, Akhilesh Yadav clarified that the power cuts were not driven by any ulterior motive.

However, an organization claiming to represent electricity consumers sought to defend the power crisis saying that it was a routine happening in summer months. Awadhesh Verma, president of the Vidyut Upabhokta Parishad, said that Uttar Pradesh was going through a power crisis because of systemic weaknesses which aggravated during the summer months. On the other hand, the state BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur accused the government of not managing the distribution of electricity well across the state.

Ratan Mani Lal

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