Ink July 2017 _Page_001

On March 19, Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on the back of promises like waiving farm loans, closing illegal slaughterhouses, imposing law and order, and honest policing. It has sparked off a chain reaction of unintended consequences. True to the promise of the prime minister on the campaign trail, the UP government announced the waiver of farm loans in its first cabinet meeting. This sparked off a chain of farmer protests across the country and by last count loans worth `1 lakh core had been waived in four states. The chief minister also hit the ground running on slaughterhouses and meat shops, and ordered the large scale transfers of police and other officers.

Three months on, it is mayhem on the streets of UP. Orders to implement rules and regulations—especially for the meat business—have opened the doors to arbitrariness and discretion, the seed of all corruption. Small businesses in the thousands are suffering as in the name of implementing the law bribes are being extracted without mercy. The police lead the show, making up for the losses they suffered due to demonetisation, writes Arpit Parashar in this month’s cover story “The Yogi rules”. His ground report from UP documents the early days of the Adityanath government and shows how pervasive the influence of BJP workers is on the administration. It also offers an unparalleled look at the organised bribe-economy run by the police.

In the era of viral, jingoistic WhatsApp forwards, truth is overshadowed by fact, sentiment wins over rationality. From events like the jallikattu protests in Chennai to even judgments of High Courts, facts have ceded ground everywhere, writes consulting editor G. K. Rao in the essay, “The faith in biases”.

We excerpt Prena Singh Bindra’s “The vanishing: India’s wildlife crisis”. The rapid pace of road development in India through forests, national parks and protected areas comes at the cost of ecological balance and animal life. Road approvals need a more measured approach, especially when routes threaten endangered species and fragile ecosystems, Bindra writes in her report, “The trail of blood”.

Don’t miss the interview with Kartik Shanker, India’s foremost turtle conservationist on the inner life of sea turtles, and the importance of India’s east coast as a major nesting place for these ancient reptiles.

Saurav Kumar

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