New model: Editorial on BJP-ruled states importing the 'UP model'
Poison spreads easily. That is why Uttar Pradesh under Yogi Adityanath has become a model for other states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Karnataka is now aspiring to be better than UP, according to its higher education minister, although it was the state’s chief minister, Basavaraj Bommai, who first declared that he would have to import the ‘UP model’ of encounters and bulldozers to penalise ‘anti-social and communal’ elements. That is, law and order would be restored by turning them on their head. Mr Adityanath was the first chief minister to call openly for lawless means to defeat alleged criminals. According to police reports, from March 2017 to April 2022, 9,434 ‘encounters’ occurred between the police and suspected criminals across UP, in which a large number were wounded and around 160 died. Noticeably, many were from the minority community. Also, bulldozers destroyed properties belonging to alleged criminals, again mainly from the minority community. The legality or otherwise of the property was not an issue. Assam has already seized upon the encounter method; apparently all the police must do is claim they were attacked first. The Supreme Court’s concern in 2019 about such deaths, the Constitution — chief ministers are supposed to uphold it — and the law are immaterial when the Centre obviously favours the Yogi model. Criminals, alleged or merely perceived, do not deserve justice; they must be made to ‘shiver’, as Karnataka’s higher education minister said.
It is a little shocking hat Karnataka should want to import the UP model, because the state is far more developed, cosmopolitan and industry-friendly than UP. Even for a BJP government, the desire to plunge its own state into lawlessness, fear and violence seems bewildering. The chief minister and his men’s roars may be meant to quieten the anger of the cadre after the murder of a young leader. Three murders also occurred in a district which, together with another, is nurturing the growth of Hindutva, presumably promoting controversies over hijab and halal. But once released, like the proverbial genie, poison is difficult to contain. It seeps into the roots that hold society together. Pretending to invite it in is as dangerous as importing it in reality. Mr Bommai still has time to think of the Constitution and act accordingly.