Yogi Adityanath had come to power last month in an election that saw the Bharatiya Janata Party pledging to clean up street crime to an extent that women could travel through the state at midnight without worrying for their safety. Uttar Pradesh has a long way to go to reach such a stage. In the weeks after the saffron-robed Chief Minister took over, the police have also had to deal with vigilante groups targeting people they suspect of smuggling cows for slaughter. This week, a little-known outfit threatened Kashmiris in western Uttar Pradesh to leave the state or face consequences.
“In the name of gau rakshaks or moral policing, no one has a right to intervene. Whoever gets into vigilantism on any pretext with be dealt with sternly,” Mr Singh said, asking people to tip them off if they spot any such activity. “We will not ask you to reveal your identity,” he said.
In a state where criminal-politician nexus is deeply entrenched, Mr Singh reassured his officers that they will have the complete freedom to do their job. “If police officers have anything to be scared of, it is their own conduct. Nothing else,” he said.
But the clean-up will start from within. The police chief announced that all police officers who have stayed in the same place beyond the stipulated period, or those in field postings facing serious complaints would be transferred.