An official said Monday that over 50 criminals have surrendered to police in the two weeks since the BJP retook power in Uttar Pradesh. According to reports from across the state, several illegal encroachments have been removed with bulldozers, which many have dubbed the Yogi Adityanath government’s new symbol.
Officials say that images of many absconding criminals walking to police stations with placards around their necks reading “I am surrendering, don’t shoot me, please!” have surfaced on social media, demonstrating the panic among history-sheeters.
Bulldozers had resounded throughout the UP elections, symbolising tough action against criminals and mafias, earning Adityanath the nickname “Bulldozer Baba.”
Over 50 criminals have surrendered and pledged to stop committing crimes in the last two weeks, according to Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar. During that time, two criminals were killed in encounters, and many more were arrested, he added.
According to reports from across the state, bulldozers are being used on a regular basis to clear encroachments and demolish illegal structures.
During the last five years, the heavy machinery used to raze properties acquired by people with criminal antecedents with proceeds of their crimes reflected the Adityanath government’s “zero tolerance for crime.” Adityanath used to say in his election speeches that the bulldozers had gone for maintenance and would return after March 10th (declaration of results).
On March 15, a hardcore criminal Gautam Singh, accused of many kidnapping and extortion cases, surrendered in the Chhapla police station in Gonda district, triggering the latest “fear of bulldozers” among history-sheeters. Nearly two dozen criminals lined up at a police station in the Saharanpur district shortly after, promising never to commit another crime.
Following that, news broke of four liquor smugglers surrendering in Deoband, as well as the surrender of a large number of criminals in Shamli.
Last week, in Pratapgarh, an accused in a rape case surrendered on his own four days after raping a woman in a toilet near the railway station. After the police parked a bulldozer in front of his house, the accused gave him up.
The Auraiya district administration cleared illegally built shops on government land in a market there on Monday. Similarly, the administration demolished shops on an encroached piece of land in the Mainpuri district on the eve of Holi.
According to the ADG, there is a clear directive to show no mercy to criminals and mafias. The state government’s tough stance was demonstrated on March 6 in Lucknow, when an illegal structure built by a close associate of muscleman-politician Mukhtar Ansari was demolished.
Last year, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stated unequivocally in the state legislative assembly that houses for the poor would be built on land that had been freed from mafia control.