Journalism, Politics 2020, Reportage, Telegraph Calcutta

Adityanath’s UP and the Imagination of Hell

Twice in two years has Ajay Mohan Bisht, also known as Adityanath, been voted the nation’s best chief minister in polls that purport credibility.

It may be fair to wonder which sordid corners of hell those pollsters went scouring. Or perhaps they were merely scouring Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh, which answers to multiple descriptions of hell.

Such as the one whose grisly layers we might yet want to banish as the fiction of a traumatic nightmare. Unfortunately, we are living it and being cynically denied the ordeal of the dead.

A 19-year-old is gagged, raped and bludgeoned by an entitled crew of criminals in Hathras, barely 200km southeast of Delhi. So brutally that her spine snaps and leaves her paralysed.

When news of the savagery breaks, district authorities damn it as “fake news”. But she survives the multiple assaults and the slur of official lies. She struggles for life a fortnight, shifted from hospital to hospital, and eventually dies in Delhi. She can no longer be dismissed as “fake news”, she has become a dead body.

But this is Adityanath’s realm, what it decrees dismissed will have to be dismissed.

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