Last week a pro-BJP national daily blared in a front page headline: “It’s a riot a day in Uttar Pradesh.” The BJP is flaying the Akhilesh Yadav government for its failure to curb law and order in the state. Why are BJP leaders not doing anything about it? Does not the central government bear any responsibility for the situation of law and order in India’s largest state?
For over two months since the Modi government was sworn in Uttar Pradesh witnessed unrelenting crime and disorder. There have been literally hundreds of communal incidents in Uttar Pradesh since Mr. Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. There were an unprecedented number of rapes in which even police complicity was evident. For the first time in history the United Nations Secretary General expressed concern over the safety of women in an Indian state. It was a huge blow to India’s international standing. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav took refuge behind his allegation that the situation in other states was worse.
Apart from unending rapes there were continuing communal riots and tension with bouts of curfew that made life hell for segments of the population. Inhabitants of entire villages were terrorized to flee homes and languish in inadequate camps as refugees. After the rioting between Muslims and members of the Jat community there have later occurred riots between Muslims and members of the Sikh community. The Modi government does not seem to have a clue about its responsibilities. When law and order collapses in this fashion in any state of the Union the central government does not merely have the right to intervene. It has a duty to intervene. How did the government intervene?
A five-member fact-finding team of the BJP including an accused in the riots visited the state. The team repeated earlier news and confirmed that the riots were pre-planned and the government was biased. The party promises to raise the issue in parliament. Is that all the Modi government will do? This would be laughable were it not tragic. After debating in parliament the facts widely and graphically disseminated by media what added authority will the government acquire to act as it should have much earlier?
There is only one course the central government has to follow. It has to initiate the process of imposing President’s Rule in the state by invoking Article 356 of the Constitution. The union government must approach the President who must order the Governor of the state to submit his report on the law and order situation on the basis of which President’s Rule may be imposed.
Why has not government after its poll pledge of good governance done that? On July 1, 2014 I wrote: “The mystery persists: why does the government not impose President’s Rule in Uttar Pradesh…?” The mystery continues. During the campaign I described Mr. Modi as a muscular version of Mr. Manmohan Singh. Now one must rethink. Is he more muscular? Or does the BJP profit more from prolonging UP's misery, perhaps even adding to it?