Who will stop the growing lawlessness in streets of India in the name of religious pilgrimage, saving cows or any other pretext which is endangering law abiding citizens and destroying public and private property.
Suddenly we find that police instead of protecting citizens has become mute spectators or has got busy showering flowers on pilgrims or Shiv Bhakts which include hooligans.
These hooligans riding on bikes without helmets, carrying lathis have chosen to attack locals while passing through towns of U.P and parts of Delhi.
They are backed by groups travelling in vans fitted with loudspeakers. Unlike pious pilgrims who walk the entire distance but these hooligans who are high on drugs and liquor dance their way and attack anyone who dares to come close to them, burning cars including police vans.
In majority of cases there are no policemen around to check them and in some cases when present they are mute spectators or outnumbered and unable to do anything as political bosses have instructed them to deal with them with soft hands after having accorded a welcome to them by showering flowers.
The helicopters run on state expense which are meant for keeping a watch on them but are used for showering flowers by police officials in U.P.
This is coming after police in states like U.P, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand was unable to check heinous crimes like lynching by cow protectors.
The hard core groups are also attacking Harijans for defying taboos like Horse rides during marriage procession or restrictions related to dress.
Earlier Muslims were made victims in the name of Love Jihad or becoming friendly with girls belonging to other communities. In most of these cases the culprits have become free after release by Courts on bail.
Bails became easy because investigation was done in a casual manner and culprits became so brazen that they confessed on camera having committed such crimes.
In addition the States Governments are openly encouraging religious pilgrimage in their endeavour to divide people on communal lines.
The ruling party BJP which in the past spoke about development of all, good governance now is only talking about foreigners and need to send them back. The targets are Bangladeshis and Rohingas from Mynmar.
The Situation has become so bad that rulings by Supreme Court on issue like lynching are being ignored. There is no fear of authority or police.
Police officials have stopped acting on their own and wait for instructions from political bosses like Home Minister. The politicalisation of police force has been noticed by all including judicial authorities.
The issue is that BJP which rode to power promising good governance and progress of all is doing nothing to correct the situation in which mobs are acting freely without any fear of authority.
Agitations by Jats, and Marathas for reservation or a protest against showing of any film all turn to violence destroying public and private property. It is more worrying as it is coming just before some States are going to polls to be followed by national poll for Lok Sabha.
Maintaining peace during polls is essential to ensure a fair poll and a large turnout of electorate. The Election Commission will also have to ensure that no party is allowed to arouse religious sentiments during the polls.
The Election Commission is busy trying to convince the opposition parties that use of EVM’s will not impact it by favouring anyone and there was no need to return to old system of ballots.
Under the circumstances there is need to avoid any controversies leading to law and order problem because of use of religion in polls or lack of action by police.>
(Brij Bhardwaj is a veteran journalist and commentator)