This is the present state of affairs: you can get away with blue murder in the name of religion…you can kill…destroy…vandalise…misbehave…so long as you walk around in the garb of a ‘Bhakt’ under the protective umbrella of faith and God! This unholy dalliance reeks of ‘goondaism’ via thugs and no less.

Unfortunately, this is a daily occurrence in what was once called a secular land… And where is the mighty police? Our law enforcement agencies who should be maintaining law and order and keeping the peace and protecting…defending…guarding the citizens… are either always ‘missing in action’ or ironically, turn into mute spectators the minute things get out of control.

In a first, which can only be termed as bizarre, the UP state police went into over-drive in pleasing the Kanwariyas – An Additional Director General of Police and no less and others were seen diligently showering rose petals at them from the skies above, seated comfortably in the interior of a helicopter. Is this where all the hard-earned money of the taxpayers is going? The priorities of the state government seem to be warped.

The so-called devotees are being treated as heroes even though they have been repeatedly indulging in vandalism and uncouth behaviour over time. The authorities have even imposed a ban on the open sale of meat along the route taken by the Kanwariyas. Apparently all this was being done to soothe the enraged yatris’ spirits or whatever nonsensical excuses they are trying to feed us.

This is not the first time such elaborate proceedings were made to greet the pilgrims. In 2017, Adityanath had instructed that the ‘gular’ or cluster fig trees be pruned as they were considered ‘inauspicious’ by devotees. It was the first time a chief minister had supervised the arrangements for them.

But then what about all the violent incidents that take place along the route and highways where the Kanwariyas indulge in lawlessness and yet seem above the law? Why are they enjoying impunity? Why are the police officials mute spectators in all this? And tell me… What kind of devotees indulge in this kind of hooliganism? They don’t deserve to be called ‘Shiv Bhakts’ and should be punished accordingly. Their place is behind bars if they are unable to follow rules and regulations laid down.

The latest shocking incident in New Delhi, has raised the hackles of ordinary citizens who have come out strongly and condemned the Kanwariya’s behaviour. Social media and Twitter users have been lambasting the yatris as well as the inaction by the police. A video has come to fore in which a group of saffron-clad Kanwariyas can be seen ruthlessly vandalizing a car before tipping it over on a busy street in Delhi, even as cops and bystanders stood by as mute spectators, without venturing to help the occupants of the car. The incident took place on Wednesday in Moti Nagar. Reportedly, the pilgrims were enraged after the car allegedly brushed past them while driving.

Get on the highways and see the ‘mob rule’ during the Kanwariya Yatri Season. Where chaos, ruckus and traffic jams are rampant and complete lawlessness is the order of the day. Kanwariyas behave like goons breaking every law possible. The frenzied worshippers, dressed in saffron outfits can be seen triple riding two-wheelers and without helmets at full speed waving the Indian flag in one hand and sticks in the other. Then you have the innumerable trucks fitted with speakers blaring ghastly music and intoxicated yatris dancing in gay abandon, all the while exhibiting pseudo nationalism by displaying our national flag. How is this unruly behaviour even allowed in the name of religion?

Is mob violence the new normal? Why are we allowing them to think that they can get away with anything without fearing inaction? Are we going to continue to allow such people to disrupt our daily lives? Why is the police silent? Is all our tax money paying for these kind of yatris? And who will pay for the loss of public and private property by these goons?