Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday claimed that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath took the state to the top spot in terms of law and order situation, PTI reported.

Shah, while speaking at an event in Lucknow, said there was an atmosphere of fear in Uttar Pradesh before the Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2017. “Women felt unsafe, the land mafia was grabbing the land of the poor people, incidents of firing in broad daylight and riots were rampant,” he added.

Shah claimed that the saffron party had ended casteism and dynasticism in Uttar Pradesh, The Hindu reported. “The BJP governments do not work on the basis of caste, families, or for the people who are close to them,” he said, according to PTI. “The BJP governments work for the development of the poorest person and to revamp law and order.”

Shah also praised the Uttar Pradesh government’s efforts to rein in the pandemic.

He expressed confidence that the BJP will return to power in the state after the 2022 elections. “Those dreaming [of coming to power], I want to tell them, ‘bhaiya’ [brother], once again prepare yourself for a crushing defeat,” Shah said. “The BJP is going to form a government with a huge majority.”

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  3. How Uttar Pradesh became a vigilante state under Adityanath

Contrary to Shah’s claims, the Uttar Pradesh government has been facing heavy criticism for its handling of the pandemic and the state’s deteriorating law and order situation.

In July, a group of 87 former bureaucrats had called out the state government for the “blatant violation of rule of law” and the breakdown of governance.

In an open letter, the signatories highlighted Uttar Pradesh’s use of criminal charges to crush dissent, extrajudicial killings in the state, misuse of anti-conversion laws against minority communities, legitimisation of vigilantes and faults in Covid-19 management.

“We note with mounting alarm that the present ruling regime in UP has ushered in a model of governance which swerves further and further away from the values of the Constitution and the rule of law with each passing day,” the former bureaucrats said.

In 2020, the Uttar Pradesh government had come under intense scrutiny because of its handling of the Hathras gangrape case.

On September 14, four upper-caste Thakur men had tortured and raped the Dalit woman. She died on September 29, a day after being moved to the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. She had suffered multiple fractures and other serious injuries, and was left paralysed. The four men have been arrested.

In the events that followed, the Uttar Pradesh government forcibly cremated the body of the woman even as her family was detained in their home by the police, with the aim to stop the incident from becoming a focus of protests.

The case triggered massive outrage across the country, becoming emblematic of the caste-based sexual violence faced by Dalit women in Uttar Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh had reported the most cases of violence against women in 2019, according to the National Crime Records Bureau’s annual “Crime in India” report.