A group of citizens, including former judges, IAS and IPS officers, today denounced those who accuse the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh of “crushing” dissent by suppressing democratic protests, saying their statement was “irresponsible and totally misunderstood”.
It is worrying that a group of retired officials who join a “certain political stream, despite openly posing as non-political”, repeatedly take every opportunity to attack Indian democracy, its institutions and those who legitimately hold high positions in bad light by making ill-considered public statements or writing misconceived notices to various authorities, the group claimed.
The 151 signatories to the statement include former UP chief secretary Yogendra Narain, former UP DGP OP Singh, former Sikkim Supreme Court Chief Justice Permod Kohli and former CBI director M Nageswara Rao, in addition to a number of retired IFS and military officials.
Their statement is a clear rebuttal to another group of former officials, IPS officials and others who have often criticized Yogi Adityanath’s government for allegedly suppressing dissent and using state tools to attack its critics.
Citing figures, the group of citizens supporting the UP government said a total of 8,367 police encounters took place in the state between March 20, 2017 and July 11, 2021 in which 18,025 alleged criminals were injured.
Of them, 3,246 were arrested and 140 were killed, they said.
As many as 115 of the alleged criminals killed during the encounters wore rewards on their heads, 21 of them carrying rewards of more than Rs 50,000 each and nine of them carrying rewards of Rs 1.5 lakh.
Against the charge that a disproportionate number of them were from minority communities, they said 51 of the 140 belonged to the group. They noted that 13 police officers were also killed in these encounters and an additional 1,140 police officers were injured.
“Adequate checks and balances are in place, from magistrate inquiry to NHRC, and the PUCL guidelines established by the Supreme Court. Of the 140 police encounters in which magistrate inquiries were ordered up to July 11, investigative reports have been filed in the case of 96 encounters and 81 have been accepted by the courts,” they said.
“The recent statement, containing its condemnatory accusations against the government of Uttar Pradesh under the guise of protecting the Constitution, is an irresponsible and totally misunderstood statement… The political agenda group, while leveling out false accusations, has got the facts horribly wrong, and confused his analysis,” they claimed.
The signatories also supported the state government, which has ordered recovery of damages from protesters and rioters.
“With regard to the charge of crushing dissent by suppressing Democratic protests during CAA, NRC agitation by registering cases against ”peaceful” protesters, arrests and recoveries of people under the Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Ordinance 2020, has reiterated that protesters cannot be called ‘peaceful’ and ‘innocent’ if they indulge in looting and destroying public property,” they said.
Violators of law must face the consequences, and it is undeniable that in the face of any allegation of access, there are adequate judicial safeguards against arbitrary state action, they elaborated.
They said no group of ex-officials can judge the integrity and professionalism of the working officials in a government, who are their “own successors” in the hot seats.
“Such irresponsible statements are deeply damaging to the morale of serving civil servants, and an unwarranted defamation of democratically elected governments by politically motivated activists in the garb of self-appointed ombudsmen,” they claimed.
They also defended the state government’s COVID-19 management, saying the critics “lost sight of the fact” that more than 40 lakh migrants were sent home from across the country and that they needed food, shelter and healthcare. .
“Scoring brownie points with random photos of dead bodies floating in the Ganga River aims to doom the hard-working and fearless corona fighters on the field, who need to be motivated and encouraged to work harder,” they said.
The group suggested that “instead of building such a disproportionately negative story, these wailing former officials should have chosen to work as highly experienced volunteers in the crisis areas to replenish manpower”.