Why Yogi Adityanath's silence on BJP MLA hounding his daughter reflects double standards

Despite the UP govt's efforts to garner Dalit votes ahead of the elections, the BJP MLA's daughter being hounded for marrying a Dalit man seems to evoke only silence from the CM.

 |  4-minute read |   17-07-2019
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Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath may be very particular about blowing his trumpet on ensuring rule of law across the state. But when it comes to blatant violation of the same law by a lawmaker of the ruling dispensation, he finds it convenient to turn a blind eye to it.

That became clearly visible in the passive attitude of the ruling party and the government in the case of BJP MLA Rajesh Mishra’s daughter Sakshi, who chose to marry a Dalit, outside her high caste. No wonder, the couple was heckled and assaulted no sooner than they stepped out of the courtroom in the Allahabad High Court. The court had not only formally validated their marriage but also ordered the state police to provide protection to the young couple.

The couple’s application came up before the HC on Monday, July 15, and the court promptly gave them relief. 

What reflected the poor state of law and order in the state was the broad daylight kidnapping of another couple, who had also appeared before the court with an identical plea. Confusion prevailed in the court premises for some time as buzz went around mistakenly that it was the MLA, Rajesh Mishra’s daughter and her husband Ajitesh Kumar who were abducted.

While the police got down to business and later in the day managed to recover the kidnapped couple from the neighbouring district of Fatehpur, Sakshi and Ajitesh were stated to be still living in fear and terror of the girl’s powerful MLA father.

main_sakshi-and-ajit_071619014355.jpgSakshi and Ajitesh are still living in the fear of her father and his henchmen. (Photo: India Today TV screengrab)

Sakshi, who is well aware of the father’s clout, had gone on record to accuse her father, brother and their henchmen of hounding her and her husband while they were on the run to save their lives. The helpless daughter released a self-shot video on social media, following which the father was compelled to come out on TV channels and refute her allegations. Yet, it was amply evident that the cops were out to help the father and not the victims.

Meanwhile, BJP spokespersons were running a cover-up campaign to give their party MLA a clean-chit, even as it was blatantly visible how he was using his influence to harass the young couple. All that the BJP spokespersons were busy declaring, “There are laws to provide protection to any adult who wants to marry out of his own choice”. But none of them cared to find out why the law was not taking its course against the all-powerful ruling party lawmaker.

Strangely, some BJP spokespersons like Sudhanshu Mittal went to the extent of hinting that the marriage did not conform to “social traditions and culture”, which was why it was not finding easy acceptability by the family. But he was not ready to admit that MLA Rajesh Mishra was using his undue influence on the local administration because he wanted to teach a lesson to his daughter and her husband. Mittal and other spokespersons did not hesitate to even draw comparisons between inter-caste and inter-religion marriages. Their whole effort was directed towards emphasising that MLA Rajesh Misra’s objection to Sakshi’s marriage with Ajitesh was not because the boy happened to be a Dalit.

main_barielly-mp-raj_071619014556.jpgBareilly BJP MLA Rajesh Mishra has been accused of hounding his daughter Sakshi and her husband Ajitesh. (Photo: ANI)

And that was for the simple reason that BJP does not want to be in any manner seen as “anti-Dalit” for political reasons. After all, these very politicians leave no stone unturned to garner Dalit votes during elections.

Ironically, the UP government has for years been offering incentives to anyone entering into wedlock outside his or her caste. In the case of marrying a Dalit, the incentives — including cash — are even higher.

Significantly, the chief minister preferred to maintain studied silence on the issue. While loads of press releases are issued on his behalf every day, not one contained anything about the stand of his government on the issue.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that the cops were still out to target the Dalit boy who had married Sakshi. The police is understood to have laid their hands on a picture showing Ajitesh holding a gun, which arouses suspicion that their intent could be to implicate the boy in some criminal case. However, a top cop claimed that the pictures were still being verified. Meanwhile, the fact remains that Ajitesh’s close friend Gaurav Arman, who had helped the couple elope, has been booked and arrested in a 10-month-old case of rioting, which further indicated the dubious intent of the cops, who were allegedly out to carry out the wishes of the ruling party MLA.

Finally, thanks to the HC’s intervention, the couple has been granted protection. However, whether the cops will actually ensure the safety of the couple in the face of an insolent MLA and an unwilling administration still remains a million-dollar question.

Also read: Sakshi Mishra is just one of the many daughters 'owned' by Indian families

Writer

Sharat Pradhan Sharat Pradhan @sharatpradhan21

The writer is a senior journalist and political analyst based in Lucknow.

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