In his last speech to parliament in March, before resigning from his Lok Sabha seat and assuming as Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath promised that “many things will be decided” in the state after taking office.
Taking into account the evolution of recent days, it is clear that the warning was not only political opponents but also the very idea of freedom of speech and expression.
Sunday evening, police in Uttar Pradesh arrested at least 41 Dalit activists aboard the Sabarmati Express in Jhansi to prevent them from arriving in Lucknow and presenting an Adityanath 125 kg soap.
It was a rally to condemn the Dalits insulted in the village of Manipur Deenapatti in May when they received soaps and shampoos by the administration to clean up before the visit of the Minister.
On Monday, the UP police took an even more drastic step in their attempt to muzzle civil society. Eight Dalit activists were detained at the UP Press Club in Lucknow, where they wanted to highlight the atrocities against the Dalits in the state and condemn the arrests Sunday.
Another thirteen members of the Dalit Bundelkhand Adhikar Manch and the Dynamic Action Group were also arrested for blocking the press conference.
The account used to execute the arrest is a cold reminder of the ease with which an authoritarian state could violate fundamental rights. According to reports, the police filed charges under Article 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Provision is mainly used to prevent people from committing cognitive offenses. Police said militants “planned” to march to the Prime Minister’s office, for those who did not have permission.
But keep in mind that the police did not even wait for the militants of the press conference to support them. Eight of them were removed from the press club before they could talk to the media.
Whether holding a press conference inside the UP Press Club could even be considered an illegal act by the police is a clear indication of the government’s mood, which sends a strong signal that it will not solve Without dissent.
While this was done for protesting people, those who tried to uphold the law, it was shown that they would act if they continued against groups considered favorable to the ruling party.
Last week, a woman’s IPS officer, Police Superintendents shreshtha assistant Thakur was transferred after a video of his refusal to cede to the demands of local BJP leaders in imposing a wallet on a BJP worker became Viral in social networks.
Detention and transfer have profound implications for press freedom in Uttar Pradesh. When invading a space such as the press club, media right to report uncensored sprain.
If the government is allowed to use preventive detention provisions to prevent people from meeting with the press, it automatically becomes a case of indirect censorship that the media are informed of what was legal to report and what could not allow.
By transferring a police officer for his work, the government sends a clear message to others whose job it is to enforce the country’s legislation.
In Indian Express, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen warns against the destruction of the country’s secular tissue.
In Hindu, former minister Kapil Sibal union emphasizes the importance of criticizing the government despite the danger of being called “anti-national”.