Live Encounters Letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

The Indian State of Uttar Pradesh has a population of 200 million. It is India’s biggest and most symbolically-loaded state. UP by itself would be the world’s fourth biggest democracy, and fifth biggest country by population — behind China, the rest of India, the United States, and Indonesia.*

Namasker Chief Minister Yogi Adityanathji

While you have gone about a cleanliness drive, the shutting down of illegal slaughter houses and instituting ant-Romeo squads to stem the rising incidents of eve teasing, there is still much to be done.

Here are some requests received by Live Encounters Magazine from concerned citizens and foreign tourists:

Cow died by ingesting a plastic bag with organic waste © Mark Ulyseas
This cow died by ingesting a plastic bag with organic waste

1. Plastic Bags/waste: This convenient form of packaging is the scourge of UP. Plastic waste is discarded everywhere. Even religious places, wildlife parks and sanctuaries, Mother Ganga and its tributaries are not spared. Cows, which you are so protective of, are victims of this menace. People dispose of household kitchen waste in plastic bags – on the street as well as garbage dumps. Stray cows frequent these garbage dumps and ingest these plastic bags whole as they can’t get to their contents. The result is that cows die of accumulation of plastic bags in their stomach. Here is a photograph by a western tourist that was mailed to us of a cow that had allegedly died by swallowing a plastic bag filled with organic refuse.

2. Seize stray cattle immediately. Owners of stray cattle deliberately leave their cattle to roam the streets and eat whatever they find. At dusk they are rounded up and their milk sold in the market. This milk is contaminated and is a health hazard. Often stray cattle are ‘stolen’ and sold and then slaughtered. The meat is sold in the ‘open’ market through unregulated meat shops. Further stray cattle attack people, are injured in traffic accidents, cause traffic accidents, become victims of illegal cattle trading for meat and beaten by people with sticks for various reasons.

3. Illegal slaughter houses should be shut but those which have proper licences must be permitted to carry out their trade without being hounded by the authorities or their political masters.

4. Kashi is to the Hindus what Mecca is to Muslims. Yet it is filthy and polluted. Millions of pilgrims bathe in Mother Ganga, wash their clothes with soap containing chemicals (the packaging discarded in and around the river), even offerings that are thrown in the river contain plastic etc. that contaminate the holy river. Added to this is public defecation in and around the river.

–  The entire area should be sanitized – orders must be immediately passed to stop the use of plastic bags/bottles, chemical soaps, offerings containing any inorganic material, and effluents being discharged into the river etc. AND retail outlets must sell organic soap, organic mosquito repellent etc. at affordable rates.

–  Public defecation must be stopped by providing adequate free sanitary facilities.

–  People should be fined for polluting the area.

–  Clean drinking water: Ban bottled water. This would get rid of the plastic bottles. Pass a law that all hotels and restaurants must offer clean distilled drinking water. In the past, Indians always carried water bottles. Perhaps it is time they went back to this practice.

–  No spitting of paan etc.

–  The cremation ghat must be reorganised and cleaned.

–  Seize stray cattle.

–  Immunise all stray dogs against rabies etc.

– A proper system for collection and disposal of garbage should be planned and officials held accountable for its implementation.

5. Please consider how subsistence farmers may receive relief from loans.

6. Criminally prosecute those that have misused funds meant for educational centres in rural areas. Ensure that children in these areas have access to schools.

7. Corrupt government officials, including policeman, must be summarily sacked. In the past these parasites were only suspended. They often returned under the protection of some politician.

People will criticise you for your past utterances. They will seek to make you out to be a right wing Hindutva who hates non-Hindus. Prove them wrong by doing what is right for the people of Uttar Pradesh. Help your people who have given you an outstanding mandate.

We have received many more missives. Once these are collated we shall write another letter to you.

In the meantime, we earnestly hope that you will continue to work towards the alleviation of poverty, education and bringing about a semblance of law and order in Uttar Pradesh.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om

Mark Ulyseas



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