Under attack from all quarters in the wake of the Muzaffarnagar violence,the Akhilesh Yadav government is taking decisions in a haste to avoid being blamed for inaction. And instead of lending credibility,this has exposed the state of confusion it is in.
The panic button was pressed after the violence broke out and all restrictions were removed for the people of Muzaffarnagar to meet Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav in Lucknow. There was no harm in meeting people,but action was taken on their feedback without any verification. It wont be surprising if few of the local leaders soon end up with ministerial status to be bestowed by Akhilesh.
Dozens of ministers were pressed into service for visiting Muzaffarnagar,who catered to their political canvas leaving the local administration confused with their requests. Sensing a sporadic backlash from the Kshatriya community over the arrest of two BJP legislators Sangeet Singh Som and Suresh Rana Akhilesh immediately accommodated independent legislator Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya in his ministry to soothe the anger of the community.
Not learning from its mistake,the state government is still resorting to knee-jerk reaction. It took a severe action over a letter carrying a controversial subject line to discuss the construction of temple at Ramjanmabhoomi like the reconstruction of Somnath temple,with enacting a parliamentary law by Government of India. Firstly,it removed Secretary (Home) Sarvesh Mishra who had signed the letter and kept him in waiting besides suspending Prem Kumar,the section officer from whom the letter originated. A departmental probe was also ordered.
Next day,Mishra was suspended. Three days later,Principal Secretary (Home) R M Srivastava,who had given clarification about the controversial letter,was also removed. Surprisingly,Srivastava was removed while he was presiding over a meeting on law and order situation. Such a severe action over a letter that became controversial due to clerical mistake reflects the governments nervousness. R M Srivastava is the same officer who was able to retain his post despite several incidents of communal violence taking place in the state,including the one in Muzaffarnagar,and was not removed even after several requests were made to Akhilesh by nearly three dozen legislators and ministers in the past.
Again despite knowing that Vishwa Hindu Parishad had failed to mobilise support for its proposed 84 kosi yatra in Ayodhya in August,the state government clamped down on VHPs proposed Sankalp Diwas on October 18. The previous yatra of VHP hardly got any response and only 347 people offered arrest in Ayodhya. The heavy security arrangements and paraphernalia of the administration,however,gave it the publicity. It is repeating the mistake,making the VHPs Sankalp Diwas a big issue.
Fareed is a senior correspondent based in Lucknow