181210 Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath Image Credit: Supplied

Intimations of India as a Hindu Rashtra - the dream project of the Sangh - have been apparent for a while to observers.

My case is different. Uttar Pradesh, under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath, the mahant (chief priest) of the Goraknath math, is possibly the first independent republic of the Sangh - at least in the mind of its current boss. Recently, without exceptions, senior leaders, including former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi, Jayant Choudhary, and earlier a five-member Trinamool Congress delegation comprising four MPs led by Derek O Brien were pushed around and attacked. And in the case of Priyanka Gandhi, an Uttar Pradesh cop grabbed her kurta.

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The leaders’ crime? They wanted to go and commiserate with the grieving family of the Hathras teen, who had been brutally gang raped and murdered. The Uttar Pradesh police, clearly a law unto themselves, had set fire to the victim’s remains using petrol at around 2 am after locking and barricading her family in their tiny home. Hindu cremations are not held after sunset and petrol is certainly not used to cremate the dead. Normally, the family of the dead carry out many rituals and practices before consigning their loved ones to flames.

One would reckon that Yogi in his role of a mahant would be mindful of Hindu rituals. But, perhaps “Maharaj” as he is now referred to, believes that Hindu niceties do not apply to Dalits who for millennia have been at the receiving end of upper castes. It would be an understatement to say that Yogi runs a shambles administration. Most of his trusted officials belong to the same upper caste that he does. So what does an independent republic of the Sangh do? It takes India a millennia back where crimes were judged on the alleged criminal’s caste. The rule of law always had a faint impression in Uttar Pradesh, a hugely backward, near primitive state, in terms of human indices.

Now it is back to the caste system with all its discrimination. What else explains the fact that the upper castes held a demonstration yesterday in support of the four men, accused of raping the Hathras teen. Yes you read that right - rallied in support of rape and murder accused and were allowed to do so by the Uttar Pradesh police without let and hindrance. The upper caste men were openly threatening on camera to Chandrashekhar Azad, a Dalit leader, who had gone to meet the grief stricken family.

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The moment the police carried out the burning of the body on cue the administration started claiming that the teen had not been raped. Connect the dots and see who this benefits? Let me gently remind you of Kuldeep Singh Sengar, an upper caste BJP legislator, who was accused of rape and then the alleged murder of the victim’s father. The last time people rallied in support of gang rape and murder accused was the case of little Asifa in Kashmir who was eight years old and gang raped over days and then murdered. So clearly the Hindu Rashtra as it unfurls is not really friendly to women or Dalits. In Yogi Adityanath it has found a prime exemplar and Uttar Pradesh is currently the Sangh’s laboratory for Hindu Rashtra 1:0.

Swati Chaturvedi, Special to Gulf News-1592296808900