Sunday, February 25, 2018
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kumbh ends

I have mentioned that the Maghi Purnima passed off peacefully. But from newspaper reports I could gather that some personnel on duty forgot that they were in the Mela to help and not to exploit or to spurn the visitors. The Mela was and is regarded as a special event. The eyes of the whole world were set on this greatest show on earth. But who spoiled the show? The policemen posted there, who once again imagined that they were operating in the city; and some doctors who thought they could be as arrogant and as heartless as some of their counterparts are seen to be in government hospitals and nursing homes.

Let me come first to the cops posted there. By and large they were doing a satisfactory job. I am told in some cases they went out of the way to even help the pilgrims in need and at some of the railway stations they were also seen assisting the passengers to get water, snacks and reaching their compartments.

But in the Mela itself, some of them did not behave as if they were performing selfless duty in the Mela. They were back to their corrupt and exploitative ways as will be evident from the following incident.
Some cops were freely having tea, snacks and paans from three shops near the Central Hospital. This had been going on for several days. The shopkeepers were keeping account of the items consumed. And the other day, one of them gave them a chit showing arrears of Rs900 and wanted the payment. The cop, from Kotwali, who was demanding snacks became furious. He threatened to uproot the shops. He came again with more cops. They took the two shopkeepers to the police station and badly thrashed them. They rushed back to the spot and started damaging the shops but went away when the public started collecting around.

The police were saying that the shops were being uprooted because they had been set up illegally, without permission or permit. Assuming that this was so, how is it that they did not challenge the shopkeepers earlier? Were they not guilty of lapse of duty? The higher authorities should answer. If they were claiming that the security forces have their eyes focussed on every inch of the Mela area and that not a bird could flap its wings without their knowledge, how is it that shops were clandestinely functioning in the Mela area?  If this was done with the connivance of the police authorities or some petty officials in the Mela administration, then what about the tall claims of the top functionaries that only policemen of complete integrity, those who are  teetotallers, will be posted in the mela area? Then from where did these dishonest cops come who first turned a blind eye to the alleged illegal setting up of the shops and later, suddenly recovered their eye-sight to find that the shop-keepers were encroachers, but only after they were asked to pay for the snacks, drinks and paans that they had been consuming for a month?

These cops have given a bad name to the Mela. Those foreigners and tourists/’pilgrims , who watched the scene, must have wondered what sort of police we have in UP which does not even observe the sanctity of a Mela and indulges in   corruption and high-handedness as if the two were their twin babes!

In case the senior cops wish to know ,  the names of two of the shopkeepers are  Ravi and Aman. It would be in the fitness of things to demand that the higher authorities force the erring cops to pay the arrears and also punish them for allowing illegal shops to function. But first it would be essential to find out whether the shops were indeed being clandestinely run. (About  doctors I will tell you tomorrow)

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Magh Mela 2014

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