Two Dalit Sister

6 Arrested People For Raping, Killing Two Dalit Sisters: Lakhimpur Kheri

A total of six persons have been arrested in the case of two Dalit minor sisters found hanging from a tree in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh, the district’s Superintendent of Police informed on Thursday.

“Total six accused involved in crime in different ways, arrested. Accused identified as Chotu, Junaid, Sohail, Hafizul, Karimuddin and Arif,” said Sanjeev Suman, Superintendent of Police, Lakhimpur Kheri.
According to the SP, the accused Junaid was nabbed in an encounter where he was shot in the leg.

The SP disclosed that the accused were friends with the deceased girls.

“The girls were yesterday lured to farms and raped by Sohail and Junaid. After the girls wanted the accused to marry them, Sohail, Hafizul, and Junaid strangulated and killed them. They then called Karimuddin and Arif and hanged the girls to eliminate any proof,” SP Sanjeev Suman said.

As per Suman, all the accused persons other than Chotu hailed from Lalpur village in Lakhimpur Kheri.

Chotu, who was a neighbour of the girls, had introduced the two girls to these boys and he too has been arrested, the SP added.

He further added that this was a preliminary probe and the post-mortem will start in about 2-3 hours.

“A panel of three doctors is conducting the post-mortem… the crime is against women and against a weaker section of society. We worked with speed and sensitivity. The accused have been booked under section 302, 376 of Indian Penal Code and the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) act,” he added.

On Wednesday evening, the bodies of two minor Dalit sisters were found hanging from a tree in Lalpur Majra Tamoli Purva village under the Nighasan police station of Lakhimpur Kheri district.

Local villagers and the girl’s family lodged a protest as they marched and blocked the road demanding justice for the victims.

The family of the deceased had accused three men of rape and murder and staged a demonstration at the Nighasan crossing, a few kilometers from the village.

Lakhimpur Kheri superintendent of police (SP) Sanjeev Suman, along with the police force, rushed to the protest site and assured villagers that strict action will be taken against the accused.

Lucknow range inspector general (IG) of police Laxmi Singh, while talking to ANI, had said, “Dead bodies of two girls were found hanging from a tree in a field outside a village in Lakhimpur Kheri. No injuries were found on the bodies.”

The police officials present there had also urged the villagers to call off their roadblock and cooperate with the post-mortem examination. (ANI)

Life Safer for Women in UP

‘Yogi Didn’t Change Policemen, He Changed Policing’

Shruti Gupta, an independent Chartered Accountant in Lucknow, says initiatives like emergency response and pink booths have made life safer for women in UP

I am a Chartered Accountant and till about a few years ago, I was working with a private company in Lucknow. Three years ago, I started my own firm, along with my husband (also a CA) and feel good about taking that decision. What caused this transition and gave me the confidence to take the plunge is directly associated with the law and order situation of Uttar Pradesh in general and Lucknow in particular.

When I was an employee, my daily concern was to wrap up work in time and reach home before it was dark. Even though Lucknow is a cultured city, traveling late for a woman alone caused concerns. Since accounts is stream where, several times in a year, workload get heavy, it would be stressful. This affected work and family both.

I always thought it would be better to start one’s own independent business but everyone in the family and friends circles advised against us. For, it would mean dealing with unwanted elements, even paying up extortion money to avoid unpleasant incidents.

However, two years of Adityanath Yogi taking over as Chief Minister and we could see a change in the situation. Crime rates dropped and there was a marked improvement in the law and order, be it organised law-breakers or petty street incidents. I would say that CM Yogi didn’t change the police staff but he changed the policing.

One particular incident on a late evening during lockdown sealed my decision to start my own accounting services setup. On that day, despite the lockdown, an important work warranted our physical presence in the office. By the time our work was wrapped up, it was dark and no scope of finding a public or private vehicle to return home.

ALSO READ: BJP Did Good Work In UP, But Also Polarised Society

We had heard of Yogi Govt initiative of emergency helpline 112 but were apprehensive about it, having seen how state services function in Uttar Pradesh. Yet, I took a chance and called the emergency response line.

Much to my surprise, a polite lady answered the call and patiently took down my details. I was told that help was on its way and the lady sub-inspector, Reena Choudhary, also gave her personal mobile number in case of any emergency. And lo, soon enough a PRV (Police Response Vehicle) van arrived at our office with female cops. I was dropped home with a request to avoid violating Covid curbs in future.

The same year, 24×7 Pink Police Booths, to assist women in distress emerged in the city. Such progressive steps were unimaginable in Uttar Pradesh. I needed no further persuasion to set up my own accounting firm. Having worked in the sector for three years, I could generate a respectable client base and, a few hiccups later, we soon reached a break-even point. From there, it was easy to turn corners and now I am happy to see a stable structure in place.

I sincerely want to thank the new dispensation in Lucknow to give the courage and confidence to a woman to start on her own. As I mentioned earlier, the change was not brought about by transferring of police personnel and placing one’s own people in place, as was the norm in earlier governments, but by changing the policing system. With a vigilant police presence in the city, there is no scope for miscreants. It is heartening to see women in khaki guarding the nook and corner of Lucknow on swift-moving pink scootys.

The stress and silly mistakes that came with it are now a thing of the past. I have a much relaxed work atmosphere and there is peace of mind. Parents and relatives, who were opposed to the idea of launching a business venture in UP, are happy and satisfied now. Discipline flows from the top and this is what we saw in last five years.

As told to Rajat Rai

Watch – ‘If You Kill A Cop, Your Days Are Numbered’

LokMarg speaks to former Director General of Police Vikram Singh about the reason behind rise of dreaded gangster Vikas Dubey and the ‘police encounter’ that ended his crime run. Singh feels corruption and caste are the real culprit behind rise of criminals in the state, and the likes of Vikas Dubey are present in every block and district of UP.

In this interview, he also slams the candle-holding civil society members who question each and every police encounter, saying that killer of a policeman, in every society and nation across the world, does not survive long.

There Will Be Blood

Within hours after the news broke that the dreaded Uttar Pradesh gangster Vikas Dubey was killed in a “police encounter” early on July 10, the media, social media and messaging apps went abuzz. While there were stray voices of reason and rights, one particular message on WhatsApp dominated the popular sentiment thus: ‘Even a ten-year old knows this is a fake encounter. But people in UP couldn’t care less as long as the state is minus one more dreaded gangster.’

It was a redux of the Telangana Police encounter, eight months ago, where alleged rapists of a veterinary doctor were killed. Even though prima facie the encounter was seen as staged, the policemen involved were praised and lauded by the public as heroes.

Thus, the malaise runs deeper than what civil society believes – that extrajudicial killings are the mixed handiwork of police highhandedness, a delayed justice system and people’s disregard for legal loopholes. Fake encounters such as these are symptomatic of the erosion of our judicial, policing, and societal systems. This is a scary prospect because it hurtles society towards anarchy where law is disregarded and people’s rights, including that of alleged criminals, are denied and over-ridden by primitive instincts.

ALSO READ: ‘There Is No Time To Think… You Kill Or Get Killed’

The problem in different states, or regions, emanates from different compulsions; at times there could be public pressure, or plain police highhandedness, or the long-winding legal processes that frustrate the police preparedness. In this column, however, we shall limit our argument to the latest “fake encounter” and Uttar Pradesh criminal justice system.

So, what went wrong in the case of Vikas Dubey?

Clearly, Dubey failed to graduate from crime to community. Most of the criminals who were bumped off by Uttar Pradesh police, from Sri Prakash Shukla (the dreaded contract killer and tender mafia in the 1990s) to Vikas Dubey, had this shortcoming. In contrast are the likes of Mukhtar Ansari, DP Yadav and Raja Bhaiyaa (real name Rahugraj Pratap Singh), who in spite of proven criminal records, entered politics and survived, even flourished.

Their transition from crime to community is not a difficult task in Uttar Pradesh, where power and gun culture is so glorified that it is easy for a gangster to project himself as the messiah or pride of one’s community, caste, region or religion. Flashing a bunch of licenced guns at a wedding procession is considered more prestigious here than owning ten times of farm land in acres.

Add to this the poor policing. There has been numerous recruitment scams in Uttar Pradesh Police. Each time a new political regime takes over Lucknow, new investigations are ordered and a large number of police appointments are cancelled, followed by cases and counter-cases in courts. A majority of rank policemen (the constabulary) is unable to even write down an FIR (first information report) in plain language. An FIR forms the basis of a criminal investigation but in UP, there is a Hindi adage that translates loosely to this: ‘Why do you need to file (an FIR) when you can FIRE a rifle?’

Then, there is the power structure of regional, caste or communal dominance in various belts: in eastern UP, for example, a Jat leader gains political prominence only after he (rarely she) is able to terrify Muslims and Jatavs (two separate vote-banks) or vice versa; in the adjoining belt, a Yadav leader’s rise to power is proportional to how many police personnel or officers he has publicly slapped or humiliated; further west, the script is similar – a small-time criminal takes up arms against either the “oppressive police” or the dominant upper caste lord, and then sets oneself into a Bahubali cast who brooks no opposition. Railways, public works contracts, and extortion money fund these goons. After a point, they either join politics or get killed after losing relevance for their political masters.

Sri Prakash Shukla and Vikas Dubey felt political power was beneath them. Raja Bhaiyya, Mukhtar Ansari and DP Yadav joined politics, even jumped ships to stay afloat and are therefore are alive and operational today. It is not that the latter three had any less criminal cases to their ledger.

ALSO READ: Vikas Dubey Tried To Flee, Killed: UP Police

Raja Bhaiyya was booked under terrorist act, charged with the murder of a DSP, Zia Ul Haq, and was rumoured to have even thrown his rivals to a pond full of crocodiles in his native village. Yet, he was rewarded by the Samajwadi Party with a cabinet portfolio of Jail Ministry (there were 46 criminal cases against him at that time).

Mukhtar Ansari, a dreaded don of eastern Uttar Pradesh who was accused of running numerous extortion and contract rackets, secured political protection with a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket and by winning Mau legislative Assembly seat for record five times. Even when he was expelled from the party after being charged with killing BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai, he formed his own party Quami Ekta Dal which was later merged with BSP as “ghar- wapasi”.

The case of DP Yadav is no less illustrative. Starting as a bootlegger to having monopolized liquor mafia in Ghaziabad (in close proximity to the National Capital) and adjoining areas of western Uttar Pradesh, Yadav joined politics after he was named in a hooch tragedy that took 350 lives in early 1990s. He joined Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal, later Janata Dal (Secular), even Bharatiya Janata Party for a brief spell, and finally Bahujan Samaj Party. He has represented both state assembly and Lok Sabha, and has survived any “encounter”.

What do these stories tell us? That crime and politics make a heady cocktail in Uttar Pradesh. Add police to this and you have an unholy, all-superior trinity which can bypass even the court of law. A state’s job is to establish the rule of law, not by unleashing extra-judicial delivery of justice but with better education, a competent constabulary, transparent platform for public grievance, better administrative presence and a responsive system. But in UP, where the state head himself carries a long-running criminal history — many of which he got dismissed after being sworn in as chief minister — this would be asking for too much.

As of now, the Uttar Pradesh police has publicly displayed its unabashed disrespect for the law. And considering Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi’s “free hand” to the police in dealing with criminals, it is likely to set off another round of extra-judicial killings. The aim apparently is to replace ‘Goonda Raj’ with ‘Police Raj’, mirror images of one another. And unless there is a public movement by the civil society, human rights groups, conscientious citizens and the media to force the government for a course correction, this Police Raj will continue to deal one body blow after another to the democratic system as enshrined in Indian Constitution.

Cop On Encounter: ‘There’s No Time… You Kill Or Get Killed’

A UP Police officer, who chased and gunned down a group of notorious gangsters in western UP, later faced accusations of a fake encounter. Truth prevailed, he told LokMarg, as the enquiry cleared him all charges. The officer recounts the hazards of carrying out one’s duty in khaki.  

That night in October 2009: Far from the bustling city, we were on the trail of a black Mahindra Scorpio, that was speeding on the Noida-Greater Noida expressway. A notorious western UP Gangster was going to Bulandshehr, my informer had tipped me off some time back.

The Black Scorpio in front of us, was his ride for the night. We had waited patiently outside near the Mahamaya flyover in Noida for over 5 hours and followed it for eight kilometers.

Finally, we managed to intercept the vehicle. We came to sudden halt. Before, we could ask them to come out, the men inside the car opened fire at us. We ducked in defense. At the speed of lightening, our fearless driver rammed our car into theirs from the side. He pushed their SUV towards carriageway, leaving no option for them to move.

Four armed assailants stepped out of the car and swiftly ran towards the fields near the expressway, while shooting at us. We had expected lesser people and country-made guns. But the manner in which they kept spraying bullets at us, we realized their weapons were rather sophisticated.

We were forced to fire in retaliation and ran after them towards the fields. I felt numb. All I could hear was the loud thumping of my heart. They might easily hide in the dense forest, we feared. This was the best opportunity for us to catch them and the darkness and the wilderness weren’t of much help.

After running for a while, I found myself staring at a seven-foot deep pit. One of the many pits that you come across at the Yamuna ravines. And right across the pit were two of the armed gangsters.

I had to act fast. Before they could fire, I shot at them, killing both of them. Another man, popped out from his hideout and started running. He too was gunned down by one of our men. The fourth man managed to escape.

We recovered sophisticated weapons from them which they had bought for carrying out kidnapping and dacoity like cases. The media was quick to reach the spot and started their live coverage. The next 24 hours, went by like a dream. My team and I were projected as national heroes. But soon, a media trial started, stripping us of all the glory.

‘Why didn’t Noida’s Dabangg police officer shoot them on their legs?’ a news anchor shouted at his top of voice. I wish I had! Back home, in the comfort of my living room, I replayed the incident over and over again in my head. Was it possible to catch them alive? I wondered. Every time the answer I got was a ‘no’.

For us it was either kill or get killed. The topmost officer of the district summoned me the next day and told me there will be an inquiry into the incident. He had asked me to stay prepared for media trial and the court proceedings.

As I was taking my leave from the meeting, he said a few words of encouragement that have kept my spirits high till this date. He said my team and I were very brave, and that the incident will act as a deterrent for highway crimes. An inquiry was conducted in the case.

It kept me on my toes for some time, since I had to travel to Lucknow and Allahabad. Finally, the court decided the case in our favor. I served Noida for another nine months and was transferred to other districts of Uttar Pradesh. Since this incident, there have been 11 more shoot outs, but this particular case is known as my ‘claim to fame’.

(The officer, currently a Deputy SP, requested not to disclose his identity)