Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday held a rally in poll-bound West Bengal's Malda district. The UP CM is the first firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader to campaign in the poll-bound state after the dates for the Assembly polls were announced by the Election Commission last week.
According to the media reports, CM Yogi is slated to hold at least a dozen rallies in West Bengal. Although, the priorities of the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister have come into question with the move.
Uttar Pradesh has become synonymous to hate crimes, assaults against women, more so against Dalit women. Recent incidents from Unnao, Hathras, Badaun, etc. have shaken the entire nation.
In fact, what's much worrisome is the frequency of crimes against women in the state. Even a mere google search with the keyword 'UP rape' will throw up at least one or two such stories every hour, with the recent one (at the time of writing this piece) being the rape attempt on a minor girl in Banda district in Uttar Pradesh where a 22-year-old man was arrested.
When it comes to the cruelty of crime against women, Hathras and Unnao have no parallel.
In a recent incident from Hathras, a man who was out on bail after being accused of sexual assault, allegedly shot the survivor's father during a violent clash. The very fact that the accused who was out on bail had the audacity to shoot the victim's father multiple times showcases the sheer disregard for the law and order situation in the state.
In a 45-second-viral video, the survivor can be seen begging for justice, outside the police station. "Please give me justice. There were six-seven people. They shot my father multiple times. My father had no enmity against anyone. His name is Gaurav Sharma," she can be heard saying.
This is the same Hathras where a 20-year-old Dalit woman was brutally gang-raped by four upper caste men on September 14, 2020. The 'Hathras ki beti' later succumbed to her injuries at a hospital in the national capital. The UP Police and their handling of the case were criticised after the cops decided to cremate the victim late in the night without the family's approval, which led to widespread anger across the country.
'Unnao Horror' strikes a fearful chord, the moment we hear the word. In the latest, three minor Dalit girls were found in a field on February 17, 2020. While two of them succumbed to 'poisoning', the third is still undergoing treatment after being on life support for almost a week. The incident drew flak for the Yogi Adityanath-led government from every nook and corner.
The infamous Makhi rape case when a minor tried to self-immolate in front of the CM's house seeking the arrest of the then-BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, along with his cohorts, for raping her and the custodial death of her father, is still fresh in our minds.
According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) "Crime in India" 2019 report, the state of UP reported the highest number of crimes against women (59,853), accounting for 14.7 per cent of such cases across the country. UP also reported the highest number of crimes against girl children under the POCSO Act and ranked second in rapes committed.
Although UP has always had a high crime rate against women, given its large population, it is the nature of recent crimes that have raised some serious concerns. Sadly, our beloved Chief Minister has other priorities on the list.