In Mayawati regime, professionals are faced with life risks

In Mayawati regime, professionals are faced with life risks

Dr Sachan’s murder and the subsequent attempt, not only by the police but also by senior bureaucrats, to cover up the crime and prove that it was a suicide clearly show that the mafia elements, who enjoy political patronage, could strike at will, even inside the jails, to silence any one, when they feel that they might be exposed.

After dilly-dalltying for 21 days, the Mayawati regime recommended for a CBI inquiry into the murder though the Allahabad high court order for a CBI probe into the killing proved a dampner to the government’s effort to claim the high moral ground.

The judicial probe has clearly found evidence of murder and also the connivance of the jail staff. The murder is also a pointer to the rampant corruption prevailing in the state health and family welfare departments and the dominance of the mafia elements in the award of contracts for drugs and equipment.

Subsequent developments reflect that the criminal elements, in connivance with the politicians, would not hesitate to eliminate whosoever daring to expose them. Such is the fear of the mafia elements in the health and family welfare department that the chief medical officer of Lucknow proceeded on long leave as, according to sources, he was feeling the heat.

Dr Sachan, incidently happens to be the third doctor, who had been killed within the last two years. The period also witnessed the killing of two engineers reflecting that the professionals have become easy pickings in the state. Although such killings could be traced back to the 1980s also, they registered an alarming increase since the Mayawati regime took over the reigns of the state after the assembly polls in 2007.

Incidently, these professionals have been targeted both by the criminals and the politicians mainly for either extorting money from them or for their refusal to award them lucrative contracts in their respective departments.

In 2008, PWD executive engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta was beaten to death by BSP legislator Shekhar Tewari and his goons after the latter refused to give them money for celebrating Mayawati’s birth day. A year later another engineer Roopram Bhaskar was shot dead in Gonda district in UP allegedly by a mafia of eastern UP after the former refused to award the criminal a lucrative contract.

Deadly attacks

Several other engineers also faced deadly attacks and many of them suffered serious injuries and had to be admitted to the hospitals for months together. Only last year two engineers, J K Singh and Vishnu Agarwal were attacked by the criminals in Varanasi and Raebareli respectively but they survived. The attacks were made reportedly after the two did not oblige the criminals with contracts.

The first high profile doctor, who was targeted by the mafia was the director of the family welfare department Dr Bachhi Lal. Lal was shot dead allegedly by an eastern UP mafia turned politician on July 23, 2000. In the same year an additional director in the health department Dr Radhey Shyam Sharma was also gunned down.

After a lull, the chief medical officer in the family welfare department Dr Vinod Arya was shot dead in the posh Gomti Nagar area in the state capital while he was taking a walk in the morning on December 25, 2010. Barely six months later another CMO in the same department Dr. B.P.Singh was shot dead in the same fashion in the same area.

“The engineers and doctors are sitting ducks for the criminals and politicians with criminal antecedents…if they oblige the criminals with contracts, they will face action and if they don’t they will get killed’’, said an office bearer of the UP Engineers’ Association. “Even honesty has also become a curse for us’’, he remarked.

The officials, however, also admit that a majority of the engineers and doctors in the Provincial Medical Service (PMS) indulge in corrupt practices and therefore they become easy targets for the mafia elements.

“The criminals, who many a times enjoy political patronage, know that these engineers and doctors can be milked easily and so they extort money from them and any refusal becomes fatal’’, the association members said.

UP Cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh also said that Dr Singh was killed after he threatened to expose Dr Sachan, who was allegedly involved in corrupt practices.
In fact the health, PWD, irrigation and family welfare were departments where huge contracts are up for grabs and the mafia turned politicians are always eager to get the same.

The arrest of the former CMO of Lucknow Dr A K Shukla on charges of indulging in large scale corruption underscores the connivance of the health officials with the mafia elements.

The PMS and the Engineers’ Association have demanded adequate security for the doctors and engineers. But will it save their lives remains the big question.

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