The always on the rise crime graph of Uttar Pradesh (UP) climbed a notch higher as another politician was shot and killed, on his own property on Tuesday. According to a news report on India Today, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, identified as Sanjay Khokhar was shot dead when he was said to be on a morning walk in his farms in Baghpat. India Today reports that Khokhar was a former district president of Uttar Pradesh BJP, and was shot dead, allegedly by three unidentified men.
Shocking : #UttarPradesh
BJP leader Sanjay Khokhar killed today during morning walk in a village at Baghpat. pic.twitter.com/XZx66e1pzx
— Kanchan Srivastava (@Ms_Aflatoon) August 11, 2020
The Police recovered the blood-soaked body of Sanjay Khokhar from the fields, located in the Chhaprauli area of Baghpat in UP. Journalists have shared a video on social media and it shows the bloodied body of Sanjay Khokhar lying in the fields as locals and police personnel look on. Warning: Disturbing video.
Warning: Disturbing video
— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) August 11, 2020
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a probe to nab the culprits. It was the same Yogi Adityanath who had made the country sit up and take notice in 2019, when he said the following words after taking over as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, “Agar apradh karenge to thok diye jayenge” (if you commit a crime, you will be knocked off).” Then he was applauded by the right wing IT cells and affiliates as expected. The state of UP was finally going to be ‘crime free’ according to them.
According to a 2019 an IANS report published in The New Indian Express, the CM had proudly announced that more than “3,000 encounters” had taken place in his regime, in which “69 criminals were gunned down, 838 sustained injuries and 7,043 were arrested.” He added that bails of as many as 11,981 criminals had been cancelled and they had “surrendered in court.”
“The message from the top is that no criminal is to be spared. There is no political pressure on the force and organised crime has already receded to a large extent,” the report also quotes Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh. It was also said that the ‘drop’ in Uttar Pradesh’s crime rate was due to the demonetisation, announced by Prime Minister Modi in 2016. The IANS report quoted an anonymous senior policeman saying, “After demonetisation, cash transactions reduced drastically and money in the underworld does not come through cheques and drafts. The immediate impact of demonetisation could be seen in the involvement of criminals in real estate, too. The builder-criminal nexus got diluted and we were left to deal mainly with hate crimes.”
By December 2019, CM Adityanath had said that “organised crime” had been “finished in the state”. Media reports from that time, such as this one from Deccan Herald, quote him as saying, “Earlier goons used to harass industrialists and businessmen in Uttar Pradesh and riots were frequent. Goons and mafia used to take money from businessmen in different ways, but our government has ended the regime of goons in the state.” He had said that at a conference of industrialists in the state adding, “Now no one could dare to threaten businessmen as they know the consequences.”
However, nothing could be far from the truth. Even in that same year. It is 2020 and reports of crimes, including firings and killing of unarmed citizens, has continued.
On Monday, scholar Sudiksha Bhati, from Gautam Buddha Nagar, a girl who was studying in the US, was killed as she fell from a motorcycle when chased by molesters. She hails from a village in Bulandshahar, located in UP’s Dadri, and made headlines after she earned a scholarship from Boxon College, USA. She is the daughter of Jitendra Bhati who is a tea seller, reported Zee news. She was going to meet her relatives in Sikandrabad with her uncle Manoj Bhati, when the molesters began harassing them.
The criminals rode close and suddenly braked, Sudiksha and her uncle were thrown off their bike. Sudiksha fell head first on the road, and died on spot. Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has asked in the wake of such criminals running loose in the state “How will daughters progress?” She has asked the UP government to take strict legal action.
बुलन्दशहर में अपने चाचा के साथ बाईक पर जा रही होनहार छात्रा सुदीक्षा भाटी को मनचलों की वजह से अपनी जान गंवानी पड़ी, जो अति-दुःखद, अति-शर्मनाक व अति-निन्दनीय। बेटियाँ आखिर कैसे आगे बढ़ेंगी? यूपी सरकार तुरन्त दोषियों के विरूद्ध सख्त कानूनी कार्रवाई करे, बीएसपी की यह पुरजोर माँग है।
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) August 11, 2020
The recent killing of the BJP politician is not the first time that miscreants have targeted a political leader in Baghpat. In June this year, a BJP leader’s son was killed in gunfire in Baghpat. The UP SP leader’s son was shot dead allegedly in a ‘road rage’ incident. Then the villagers are said to have beaten the attackers to death. According to news reports UP’s crime graph rose after the Covid-19 lockdown was relaxed. The Baghpat district case was of the son of the district vice-president of the BJP Backward Classes Welfare Cell of Shamli. The young boy was shot dead allegedly after a dispute over flour milling in Basauli village. The villagers then beat the two attackers to death. On receiving the information of the murder, SP Pratap Gopendra Yadav along with the police force of three police stations reached the spot and investigated, stated news reports. The criminals fired and killed Shekhar (18), and injured around four others present there. They were allegedly caught and beaten to death by the villagers. The UP police blamed this attack on “mutual rivalry”.
In the past Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had said “crime virus” spread by criminals is more active than coronavirus in Uttar Pradesh. “The way heinous crimes like murder and those against women are continuing unabated, it is clear that instead of law and order, jungle raj is prevailing in UP. Crime virus of criminals is more active than the coronavirus in UP. People are fed up and the government must address this issue,” she had said when news of the murder of Ghaziabad-based journalist, Vikram Joshi, near his home, revived the debate on how the media has been treated in the state. He too was shot at point blank range in front of his young daughter.
Hitting out at the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh over rising crime, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had also alleged that the law and order in the state has “surrendered” before goons and no one feels safe anywhere. She was reacting after the news of the kidnapping and murder of a man from Kanpur resident came to light in July. Sanjeet Yadav was killed by his kidnappers. “’gundaraj’ has come into being,” Priyanka Gandhi had said, “In this jungle raj, law and order has surrendered before the goons,” she was quoted by a report in the Economic Times.
According to a NDTV report four cops including an IPS Officer were suspended after Sanjeet Yadav (28) was murdered. The victims family had alleged that “a team of cops failed to stop his kidnappers from escaping with Rs 30 lakh ransom,” reported NDTV, adding that the police said the man was killed by the kidnappers and no money had been given to the criminals. Sanjeet Yadav’s family staged a two-hour sit-in protest outside Kanpur police chief Dinesh Kumar P’s office, before a probe was ordered. They had alleged that they handed over the cash on July 13, however, the accused managed to escape despite heavy police presence. The family later said they were “pressured” by the police to say that “no money was taken from them” reported NDTV.