Two girls seek justice after murder of three family members in UP's Sitapur
In the UP DGP office, a name-board demands attention. It shows the state has seen 11 DGPs in the last six years and no officer has got a two-year tenure.
A young Shivani Jaiswal began her emotional Facebook post earlier this week with these lines. On June 6 night, just outside her house in Sitapur’s posh Civil Lines area, her father, mother and younger brother were shot dead by masked assailants. There is no trace of the killers so far and Shivani and her sister Richa say they are losing patience. “We want a CBI probe. All our faith in the UP Police is lost,” they told ET. “Only publicity stunts, politics have been done till now at my home,” Shivani wrote in her Facebook post, to describe visits to her of politicians of various hues like SP’s Naresh Agarwal, Jitin Prasad of Congress and Yogi government’s Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi. UP Police, so far, have failed to make any breakthrough. Sunil Jayaswal, the deceased, ran a local ration shop.
“CM is personally monitoring the probe. The Special Task Force (STF) is burning the midnight oil to crack the case,” a top government official told ET. Behind the government’s concern is the point that Sunil Jayaswal was a local shopkeeper. In the last month, this is the second case of an audacious killing of a shopkeeper in the state– a community which has voted for and supported the BJP. Two jewellers were shot dead on May 15 in Mathura by a gang of robbers – a breakthrough came five days later with arrests after UP DGP Sulkhan Singh and Power Minister Shrikant Sharma had to publicly face the family’s ire before TV cameras.
Like the Mathura case, the Sitapur killing has also been captured on CCTVs and added to the shock value. Shivani has also put the administration in the dock saying cops from a police station just 200 meters from their home took ages to arrive and a government ambulance never turned up. “I lost my complete family. Only I and my sister are left alive to bear this pain for lifetime. They killed my innocent parents and only brother of us very brutally. Many attempts were made to contact police and ambulance for help but they didn’t help,” Shivani wrote in her Facebook post.
Shopkeepers have gone on a chain fast in Sitapur – much like what happened in Mathura, questioning the police. They threaten to walk to the CM’s house on Sunday if no breakthrough is made. Clearly, police is under pressure to deliver.
The record of former CM Akhilesh Yadav has been patchy too, on law and order - with major crimes being reported under his tenure as well and BJP making it a major poll issue. BJP president Amit Shah had taken out a foot march in Meerut during the campaign after the murder of a trader there.
“Perception wise, law and order was better under Mayawati tenure with her no-tolerance policy and immediate transfers if a major crime happened. But a look at the crime figures would not support even that perception. Given the fact that UP is akin to being the 7th largest ‘country’ in the world, crimes in UP are here to stay,” a SSP in a prominent district said, not wishing to be identified.
In the UP DGP office, a name-board demands attention. It shows the state has seen 11 DGPs in the last six years – no officer has got a two-year tenure with some retiring or being removed from the top post within a few months. The present DGP, Sulkhan Singh, joined in April and would retire this September. His predecessor, Javeed Ahmed, spent a little over a year in the chair before being shunted out. If he had been allowed to continue, Ahmed could have served till 2020 when he retires. “Before the top officer can execute his vision, he retires,” a former UP DGP said. Nevertheless, mass transfers of SSPs and junior officers have been carried out by the government in the last two months to effect a shake-up in the ranks.
A senior UP Police official, strictly on the condition of anonymity, hinted to ET that a “stronger” police approach towards criminals was maybe in order to drive the fear among organised gangs – as the CM has repeatedly advocated. “There was an encounter while capturing the Mathura assassins and some were injured. We need not hold back ourselves while dealing with criminals involved in cases like Mathura and Sitapur. The fear of death needs to be in criminals, not the citizens,” he said.
The country’s most populous state, which is bursting at the seams with 20 crore people and just 1.8 lakh police personnel to guard them, is also beset with paltry and outdated policing resources stretched thin over its humongous 2.5 lakh-square kilometre area. “Yogi is trying to control drastic crimes by organised gangs. Give him a year. Things will change,” another senior police officer said.