Lucknow, June 17 (IANS) Policemen in Uttar Pradesh are under attack. Literally!
Amid spiralling crime, policemen now face threats of assault. More than a dozen policemen have been attacked in the last one year in the state while half a dozen have been shot dead by criminals. The dead include a deputy superintendent of police, an inspector and constables.
The situation has seemingly spun out of control, with three policemen being shot in June alone.
Such is the crisis that the Uttar Pradesh Police Association (UPPA) has urged Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to go for a "course correction" vis-a-vis the law and order front.
Leaders of UPPA told IANS that police were at the receiving end of the criminals and the people, largely owing to "political interference" and a perception that the state had no government.
UPPA president Subodh Yadav said there was a flurry of attacks on policemen and police stations. Police weapons had been looted and police stations had been burnt down.
"From day one it was clear that this government did not have the 'iqbal'. When its own policemen are being killed in broad daylight, what can be said of the security and safety of the common man?" asked Vijay Bahadur Pathak of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Senior police officials admit that such incidents were alarming. Additional Director General of Police Arun Kumar said his men were after the criminals who shot dead a station house officer in Allahabad.
In the last two years, more than 40 policemen have been killed in the sprawling state.
They include those killed in gun battles, by criminals and by mobs. A total of 25 others have been wounded during mob fury. Twenty-eight of the casualties were aged between 18 to 35 years.
Former director general of police Vikram Singh called the attacks on the police force a "serious and ominous development".
He said the frequency with which these have happened had shocked even veterans in the force.
"The brazen manner in which cops are being attacked is certainly shocking."
Added a senior officer: "These are serious issues and our image ... has taken a knock."
The Congress says the Samajwadi Party government has no right to continue in office.
"The state is in throes of anarchy, there is complete lawlessness... Akhilesh Yadav has failed completely," said Pradeep Mathur, who heads the Congress in the state assembly.
Senior Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Swamy Prasad Maurya says criminals tend to go on the rampage whenever the Samajwadi Party is voted to power.
For once, even the men in kakhi were facing the heat, he said.
BJP state president Laxmikant Bajpayi fears that if the government was allowed a free run, the morale of the police would touch rock bottom.
"Cops are being shunted out of postings at political behest. When they perform, they are killed," he said.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)