New Delhi, 16 April 2023.
The cold-blooded televised assassination of convicted UP politician Atique Ahmed and his brother Ashraf late last night in police custody in Prayagraj starkly illustrates the complete collapse of rule of law in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh. Yogi Adityanath routinely boasts about the frequent use of extra-judicial killings that are passed off as encounters by his government and celebrated as the most effective antidote against crime. But when Atique and Ashraf were shot down at such close range, the police just watched and waited in silence till the assassins surrendered after finishing their assignment.
The Chief Minister had been openly threatening to finish off mafia prompting the latter to appeal to the Supreme Court to seek protection. His counsel told the apex court that Atique's transfer from Gujarat to UP was a death warrant. The Supreme Court while turning down the plea for protection had orally observed that since he was already in police custody, the state machinery would take care of him. We now know how the state has discharged its role. The shocking assassination of Atique and Ashraf came close on the heels of the extra-judicial killing of Atique's son Asad in Jhansi.
In 2006 Yogi Adityanath, then MP from Gorakhpur, had wept in Parliament complaining to then Speaker Somnath Chatterjee against his alleged persecution in Uttar Pradesh. Now in power, his government has unleashed an unbridled reign of terror, vendetta and persecution on his opponents. The assassination of Atique Ahmed, who too, like Yogi Adityanath, was a member of Parliament (from Phulpur) during 2004-2009, just shows how the rule of law has taken a complete beating and lawlessness has been institutionalised as governance supported by the twin props of rampaging bulldozers and extra-judicial 'encounters'.
This collapse of rule of law makes life increasingly insecure for all citizens regardless of religion and caste. The killing of Vivek Tiwari, a marketing executive with Apple in Lucknow, by the police on 29 September 2018, the murder of Ghaziabad journalist Vikram Joshi on 20 July, 2020 and the lynching of transport manager Shivam Johri in Shahjahanpur on April 12, 2023 are just three chilling instances of the reign of terror and impunity that governance has been reduced to in Uttar Pradesh under the stewardship of Yogi Adityanath.
- Central Committee, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation ( CPIML )