When Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s government hastily served notices to more than 300 people for allegedly damaging public property during the recent anti-CAA protests, many recalled how hundreds of serious criminal cases against him and his Hindu Yuva Vahini members are still pending.
But a bigger indictment than these cases are the annual reports of Uttar Pradesh Police’s intelligence units – which I have accessed – against the Hindu Yuva Vahini, an outfit that Adityanath established.
In their confidential reports on the outfit, formed in April 2002 by Adityanath to avenge the Sabarmati Express burning at Godhra, intelligence officers refer to the Hindu Yuva Vahini as “kattar (fanatic) Hindutva outfit” and “uddand (belligerent)”. They note that the outfit “creates law and order problem by aggravating even the smallest Hindu-Muslim tussle” and “ferments Hindu sentiments to secure political gains”. They also call it “immune from police action” due to its proximity to the Gorakhnath Math, a temple in Gorakhpur whose mahant (head priest) is CM Adityanath.
Here are some excerpts from the annual confidential reports prepared by a series of police officers on the Hindu Yuva Vahini over the last 12 years. Documenting the group’s rise in Eastern Uttar Pradesh over the years, these reports indicate the helplessness of the police force when confronted with Adityanath. If he could make the police crawl when he was just a local MP and use the force for his political motives, one can only imagine the state of the police that now reports to him when he is the chief minister.
2003: The report underlines the “rapid spread” of Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) and adds: “The activities of HYV have tested the patience of the administration and Muslim community.”
April 2004: An officer prepared “A brief history of HYV” and wrote: “In 1998 elections (his first poll)… Yogi Adityanath won by a narrow margin… It is clear that Hindu votes polarize in favor of the candidate proposed by the Gorakahnath temple… in the absence of polarisation of Hindu votes, Yogi Adityanath’s victory will not be easy. For this purpose, Yogi began making efforts for Hindu polarisation. First, he formed Hindu Yuva Vahini in 2002… (then) organized Virat Vishwa Hindu Sangam… (he) then tried to establish that the life, property and dignity of Hindus cannot be secured without Yogi Adityanath and HYV. Consequently, Hindu society started following him… encouraged by this, he also established HYV in Kushinagar, Deoria and Maharajganj districts of Gorakhpur mandal, and in Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Siddharthnagar districts of Basti mandal… Mostly unemployed Hindu youths joined this outfit. Yogi Adityanath’s objective is to secure political gains by exploiting Hindu sentiment.”
2008: The “uddand members” “created law and order problem before the administration” by undertaking dharnas etc over “the smallest Hindu-Muslim disputes”.
2012: “The guardian of Hindu Yuva Vahini Yogi Adityanath is a kattar (fanatic) Hindu leader, and the outfit formed by him is a fanatic Hindu outfit. Its members are of uddand nature… (they) create law and order problems before the administration. Special vigilance is required to check their activities and programmes.”
2013: “The members/office-bearers of this outfit regularly create law and order problems by exaggerating Hindu-Muslim disputes, therefore it is required to remain alert and keep a permanent check on their activities.”
2014: “The office-bearers of VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and other Hindu outfits participate in programmes of HYV. (Its) members are of uddand nature. Special vigilance required on their activities and programmes.”
2015: “Youths associated with this outfit intervene in Hindu-Muslim disputes and aggravate the matter. Since public has faith in Gorakh Peeth, HYV members are spread till village level in various districts. The appeal among youths towards this organization continues to grow because after joining the organization, its members are safeguarded from police/administrative action, and they receive favors in administrative offices due to their association with the organization.” It also lists various incidents that the Hindu Yuva Vahi tried to capitalise on by creating a ruckus.
These reports convey significant markers for the Uttar Pradesh administration. Such consistent account by officers on the ground over 12 years confirms that irrespective of the regime, a large number of police officers have been extremely critical and cautious of Adityanath and his ragtag army, and have recorded it so in writing.
This dossier cannot be dismissed as politically motivated, something that politicians routinely use as their defence when they are slapped with police cases. But these intel reports do not talk about the police cases at all and are not aimed at supporting the existing cases. With the sole objective to provide a ground assessment, these reports have been prepared by local intelligence units that mostly work separately from the police CID and investigation cells.
The author is an independent journalist. Views are personal.