Cases filed against an ex-Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) officer attached to the Special Task Force (STF) of UP Police, Shailendra Singh, have been now withdrawn. In a recent interview, Singh thanked the UP CM Yogi Adithyanath for the same and added that he and his family are indebted to the current CM for this move. The Yogi-led BJP state government approached the Varanasi Court that exonerated Shailendra of all charges. Some justice after 17 odd years!
In 2004, Shailendra and his team in the STF took great personal risks to recover a light machine gun (LMG). It was purportedly being purchased by mafia don Mukhtar Ansari from an Army deserter. Ansari was charged under POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act). Shailendra and his team stood up when other officers fearing for their lives were not ready for such raids.
The then ruling SP dispensation led by Mulayam Singh Yadav made sure that Shailendra’s life turned to hell. He was transferred, forced to resign following political pressure, jailed on trumped-up charges, and has now finally been acquitted of all charges by the court.
Fabricated charges including vandalism were filed against Shailendra after he resigned following which he was promptly jailed. He was in fact leading an agitation of students and had staged a sit-in at the District Magistrate of Lucknow’s office. How often does one see a judge find protesting as ‘creating a ruckus’?
Shailendra’s reply when asked about fear was that the path he had chosen inspires no fear in him, but he did remind the rulers of the land that no one should be put into such trying circumstances for merely doing their duty. He says that it is God who decides how long one survives on the face of this earth. He tears up when he remembers the hardship his family had to face and that says that no one inquired as to how he and his family survived.
Back in 2004, Yogi communicated with his family when Shailendra was in jail and promised relief once the BJP comes to power. In 2013, the then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi was in fact the first one to ask him how his family survives!
He was made a scapegoat by the then rulers of Samajwadi Party. After a shootout in capital Lucknow between independent MLA Ansari’s gang and supporters of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, the SP leadership was jolted to see the gang-wars coming so close to their own homes, so the state ordered both to be kept under surveillance.
In 2003, an army deserter named Babu Lal Yadav had escaped from the Kupwara Sector in Kashmir with LMGs and ammunition. In January of 2004, he was caught by STF while trying to sell the weapons.
State-approved monitoring of phone call records of the criminals proved that the deal was about to be closed for 1 Crore. In those same recordings, Ansari mentions to his middleman that he needs LMGs specifically to tackle the bulletproof vehicle of Rai. The middleman named Munnar Yadav was Ansari’s gunman and the army deserter Babu Lal’s uncle.
An LMG is used by the infantry for sustained firing. Continuous rounds are emptied in seconds, magazines can be added in no time and the gun can be used again almost immediately. On average, they fire 500 rounds of armor-piercing bullets each minute, enough firepower to decimate any opposition carrying usual pistols and rifles.
Upon recovering the weapons, Shailendra immediately filed an FIR, and unknown to many in the administration or their political masters in Lucknow, he added sections under POTA instead of the comparatively lighter charges under The Arms Act.
Ansari on his part said that he was trying to get the deserter caught and astonishingly the Mulayam Singh-led SP government decided to withdraw POTA. This turned the tables in Ansari’s favor but at the same time spelled doom for Rai. By November the very next year, Rai the BJP leader was dead. He was executed using 6 AK-47s and over 400 bullets by a whole bunch of killers and that too in broad daylight. Why did Mulayam support Ansari who was an independent MLA back then?
Pushed into a lonely corner and forced to resign, Shailendra criticized the criminalization of politics adding that it was the criminals themselves who were making decisions and passing them off as government orders. Mulayam turned it down mentioning a conditional resignation under political influence and that he was indulging in ‘netagiri’ but Shailendra stuck to his guns and later unconditionally resigned.
He further added that those in the administration could not work honestly since many in the police service were ready to stoop to any level to please their political/ criminal masters. The example he gave, was about talk in his regiment that upright officers were being transferred to dangerous postings where dishonest members of the police force eliminate you in cross-firing. He asks how can anyone work honestly under such circumstances, and said the government should take strict action against such erring officers who wasted 17 years of his life along with that of countless others.
The same officials who had earlier called and congratulated Shailendra on apprehending the LMG suppliers, started calling him to withdraw the POTA case against Ansari. The upright officer said no. They then ordered him to ignore Ansari in any further investigations into the case. He upheld the fact that the FIR had already been registered with Ansari named in it and informed that he would indulge in no such U-turns.
An enraged Mulayam immediately retaliated with the transfer of Banaras range SSP of the STF the same night, and the next day the Range IG and DIG were also transferred. Shailendra was sent back to Lucknow. Mulayam was so angry that he would not even speak to the officer over the phone and listen to his part of the story.
His story is a perfect insight into how the existing ‘democratic’ system in Bharat can turn anti-national, and often only protects the ruling class, all the while punishing or corrupting honest police officers. A perfect example of what is wrong with our democracy is the fact that less than one lakh Mau voters were able to provide legality to someone who used his political influence to engage in criminal activities over a 21 crore population and beyond.
His clout still remains since Ghosi in Mau district is one of the rare Lok Sabha seats from where in 2019, a BJP candidate could not retain a seat that they won in 2014, losing it to a candidate from Ansari’s current party BSP. Ansari himself has retained the Mau assembly seat since 1996, despite being a known criminal and spending a good amount of time in jail.
UP’s law & order suffered a lot under the 2 SP and 1 BSP regimes from 2002-17. Hindus were divided by these outfits using the caste card and were especially targeted for violent riots and subsequent pogroms.
That Ansari had people in all the right places made sure that he was untouchable. Ansari is also the nephew of ex-Vice President of Bharat, Hamid Ansari, and the blue-eyed boy of Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and a five-time MLA from Mau in UP. For Mayawati, Ansari was a “messiah of the poor” fighting against the “feudal system”.
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