Monday, April 16, 2018

As Modi flies to Europe, 49 ex-officers hold his politics responsible for indifference towards Kathua, Unnao rapes

By Our Representative
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew for an official visit to United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden, 49 retired civil servants belonging to administrative, foreign, forest and police services, in one of the strongest condemnations of the Modi government, have held him directly responsible for the “terrifying state of affairs” following the "unspeakable horror of the Kathua and the Unnao incidents."
The officers who have signed the open letter include former topcop Julio Ribeiro, former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, bureaucrat-turned-activists Harsh Mander and Aruna Roy, former Government of India economic affairs secretary EAS Sarma, former ambassadors to United Kingdom and Japan Nareshwar Dayal and Aftab Seth.
Asking him to reach out to the families of the Kathua and Unnao rape victims to “seek their forgiveness”, and brushing aside his condemnation of the two incidents before he flew to Europe, they say, Modi's "belated remonstrations and promises to bring justice" the culprits have come after "the communal cauldron is forever kept boiling by forces nested within the Sangh parivar."
The letter says, "Instead of owning up and making reparations, you had chosen to remain silent, breaking your silence only when public outrage both in India and internationally reached a point when you could no longer ignore it."
"And even then, while you have condemned the act and expressed a sense of shame, you have not condemned the communal pathology behind the act nor shown the resolve to change the social, political and administrative conditions under which such communal hate is bred", the letter tells him.
A senior Gujarat cadre IAS officer, who qualified it as "by far the strongest condemnation by retired civil servants so far . Fat lot any attention will be paid", regretted to Counterview that none of those who signed the letter belongs to the state cadre. Notably, Gujarat officers have been direct fitness to Modi as chief minister during the 2002 communal riots and his role.
Recalling that they came together last year to express our concern at the decline in the secular, democratic, and liberal values enshrined in our constitution, the former officers say, "We had hoped that, as someone sworn to upholding the Constitution, the government that you head and the party to which you belong would wake up to this alarming decline, take the lead in stemming the rot."
The Kathua rape victim
Pointing out that "this hope has been destroyed", the ex-officers say, "Instead, the unspeakable horror of the Kathua and the Unnao incidents shows that the government has failed in performing the most basic of the responsibilities given to it by the people."
"The bestiality and the barbarity involved in the rape and murder of an eight year old child shows the depths of depravity that we have sunk into", the letter says, adding, "In post-independence India, this is our darkest hour and we find the response of our government, the leaders of our political parties inadequate and feeble."
"Our sense of shame is all the more acute because our younger colleagues who are still in service, especially those working in the districts and are required by law to care for and protect the weak and the vulnerable, also seem to have failed in their duty", the letter regrets.
Pointing out that their outrage is over "the agenda of division and hate" that his party and its "innumerable, often untraceable offshoots that spring up from time to time, have insidiously introduced into the grammar of our politics", the letter tells Modi, "It is that which provides the social sanction and legitimacy for the incidents in Kathua and Unnao."
The letter says, "In Kathua in Jammu, it is the culture of majoritarian belligerence and aggression promoted by the Sangh parivar which emboldened rabid communal elements to pursue their perverse agenda. They knew that their behaviour would be endorsed by the politically powerful and those who have made their careers by polarising Hindus and Muslims across a sectarian divide."
"In Unnao in UP", the ex-officers say, "It is the reliance on the worst kinds of patriarchal feudal mafia dons to capture votes and political power that gives such persons the freedom to rape and murder and extort as a way of asserting their own personal power."
According to them, "Even more reprehensible than such abuse of power, it is the response of the state government in hounding the victim of rape and her family instead of the alleged perpetrator that shows how perverted governance practices have become. That the government of UP finally acted only when it was compelled to do so by the high court shows the hypocrisy and half-heartedness of its intent."
It underlines, "In both cases, Prime Minister, it is your party which is in power. Given your supremacy within the party and the centralised control you and your party president exercise, you, more than anyone else, have to be held responsible for this terrifying state of affairs."

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