Skip to main content

Prime Minister, given your supremacy in the party and govt, you have to be held responsible for the terrifying state of affairs

Counterview Desk
Text of the open letter 49 retired civil servants, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reach out to the families of the Kathua and Unnao rape victims to “seek their forgiveness”:
We are a group of retired civil servants who came together last year to express our concern at the decline in the secular, democratic, and liberal values enshrined in our constitution. We did so to join other voices of protest against the frightening climate of hate, fear and viciousness that the ruling establishment had insidiously induced. We spoke then as we do now: as citizens who have no affiliations with any political party nor adherence to any political ideology other than the values enshrined in our Constitution.
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 and reassure everyone, especially the minorities and vulnerable sections of society, that they need not fear for their life and liberty. This hope has been destroyed.
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. We, in turn, have failed as a nation which took pride in its ethical, spiritual and cultural heritage and as a society which treasured its civilisational values of tolerance, compassion and fellow feeling. By giving sustenance to the brutality of one human being against another in the name of Hindus we have failed as human beings.
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. 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. At this juncture, we see no light at the end of the tunnel and we hang our heads in shame. 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.
Prime Minister, we write to you not just to express our collective sense of shame and not just to give voice to our anguish or lament and mourn the death of our civilisational values – but to express our rage. Rage over the agenda of division and hate your party and its innumerable, often untraceable offshoots that spring up from time to time, have insidiously introduced into the grammar of our politics, our social and cultural life and even our daily discourse. It is that which provides the social sanction and legitimacy for the incidents in Kathua and Unnao.
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, 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. But 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.
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. Instead of owning up and making reparations, however, you had until yesterday 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. We have had enough of these belated remonstrations and promises to bring justice when the communal cauldron is forever kept boiling by forces nested within the Sangh Parivar.
Prime Minister, these two incidents are not just ordinary crimes where, with the passage of time, the wounds inflicted on our social fabric, on our body politic and the moral fibre of our society will heal and it will soon be business as usual. This is a moment of existential crisis, a turning point – the way the government responds now will determine whether we as a nation and as a republic have the capacity to overcome the crisis of constitutional values, of governance and the ethical order within which we function.
And to this end we call upon you to do the following:
● Reach out to the families of the victims in Unnao and Kathua and seek their forgiveness on behalf of all of us.
● Fast-track the prosecution of the perpetrators in the Kathua case and request for a court directed SIT in the Unnao case, without further ado.
● In the memory of these innocent children and all other victims of hate crime, renew a pledge to offer special protection to Muslims, to Dalits, to members of other minority communities, to women and children so that they need not fear for their life and liberty and any threat to these will be extinguished with the full force of State authority.
● Take steps to remove from government anyone who has been associated with hate crimes and hate speeches.
● Call for an all party meeting to deliberate on ways in which the phenomenon of hate crime can be tackled socially, politically and administratively.
It is possible that even this may be too little too late but it will restore some sense of order and give hope that the free fall into anarchy can be arrested. We live in hope.
---

Signed:
1. SP Ambrose, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping and Transport, GoI
2. Vappala Balachandran, IPS (Retd). Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
3. Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan. IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
4. Pradip Bhattacharya, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Chief Secretary, Development & Planning and Administrative Training Institute, Govt. of West Bengal
5. Meeran C Borwankar, IPS (Retd). Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
6. Sundar Burra, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
7. Javid Chowdhury, IAS (Retd). Former Health Secretary, GoI
8. Anna Dani, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
9. Surjit K. Das. IAS (Retd). Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Uttarakhand
10. Vibha Puri Das. IAS (Retd) Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
11. Nareshwar Dayal. IFS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
12. Keshav Desiraju, IAS (Retd). Former Health Secretary, GoI
13. M.G. Devasahayam, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
14. Sushil Dubey, IFS (Retd). Former Ambassador to Sweden
15. K.P. Fabian, IFS (Retd). Former Ambassador to Italy
16. Meena Gupta, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
17. Ravi Vira Gupta, IAS (Retd). Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
18. Wajahat Habibullah, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
19. Sajjad Hassan, IAS (Retd). Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
20. M.A. Ibrahimi, IAS (Retd). Former Chief Secretary (rank) Bihar
21. Ajai Kumar, Indian Forest Service (Retd). Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
22. Arun Kumar, IAS (Retd). Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI
23. Harsh Mander, IAS (Retd). Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
24. Aditi Mehta, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
25. Sunil Mitra, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
26. Sobha Nambisan, IAS (Retd). Former Principal Secretary (Planning), Govt. of Karnataka
27. Amitabha Pande, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
28. Niranjan Pant,IA&AS (Retd). Former Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General of India
29. P. R. Parthasarathy, IPS (Retd). Former Director, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Govt. of Maharashtra
30. Alok Perti, IAS (Retd) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
31. N.K. Raghupathy, IAS (Retd). Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
32. M.Y. Rao, IAS (Retd).
33. Sujatha Rao, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of Health, GoI
34. Julio Ribeiro, IPS (Retd). Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & Ambassador to Romania
35. Aruna Roy, IAS (Resigned)
36. Manabendra N. Roy, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
37. Umrao Salodia, IAS (Retd). Former Chairman, Rajasthan Road Transport Corporation, Govt. of Rajasthan
38. Deepak Sanan, IAS (Retd). Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
39. E. A.S. Sarma, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, GoI
40. N.C. Saxena, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
41. Ardhendu Sen, IAS (Retd). Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
42. Abhijit Sengupta, IAS (Retd). Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
43. Aftab Seth, IFS (Retd). Former Ambassador to Japan
44. Navrekha Sharma, IFS (Retd). Former Ambassador to Indonesia
45. Har Mander Singh, IAS (Retd). Former Director General, ESI Corporation, GoI
46. Jawhar Sircar, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & CEO, Prasar Bharati
47. K.S. Subramanian, IPS (Retd). Former Director General, State Institute of Public Administration & Rural Development, Govt. of Tripura
48. Geetha Thoopal, IRAS (Retd). Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata
49. Ramani Venkatesan, IAS (Retd).Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. Of Maharashtra

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

World Bank proved right, Narmada is already a destructive project: Medha Patkar

By Rajiv Shah  Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has said that the World Bank’s independent review mission, which brought out the Morse Commission report , has been proved right: The Sardar Sarovar dam has not only failed to live up to the loud promises made for irrigating large arid areas of Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, those who were displaced and resettled in Gujarat are getting increasingly restive as many of them are unable to get the promised water for irrigation and some for drinking water too. While 50,000 families have been resettled in three states and 20,000 have received land rights as land or cash, the authorities have not calculated what should be done with 15,000 families, whose houses are acquired for Sardar Sarovar but following changing backwater levels of the Sardar Sarovar dam, they are denied rehabilitation, Patkar tells Counterview in an interview (part1*): *** Q: What is the latest position in your view as far as the Sardar Sarovar dam is concerned?

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

Vadodara violence: Fine Arts Faculty alumni raise fingers at Varsity's political appointee

Hasmukh Vaghela with PM Counterview Desk  In a statement, alumni of the Faculty of Fine Arts (FoFA), Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU), Baroda, Gujarat, referring to the “violence” by right-wing groups for displaying “objectionable” paintings that “hurt religious sentiments” at the one of India’s top fine arts institute May 5, have taken strong exception to “the assault and rustication” of one of the students, and lack of action taken against those who “violated” the institution and committed the act. Floated as an online petition seeking wider support, the FoFA alumni, in their statement, addressed to the vice chancellor, MSU, said, there should be “thorough” investigation in the whole incident and “immediate action” should be taken against syndicate member Hasmukh Vaghela, MSU, who sparked the assault, and “other co-conspirators” for breaching “university code of conduct and unlawful activities committed in broad daylight”. While the alumni statement doesn't say so, Vaghela

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

UK leader cites Indian farmers' struggle one of top global fights against neoliberal order

Counterview Desk  Jeremy Corbyn, member of the UK Parliament, former leader of the UK Labour Party and founder of the  Peace and Justice Project , in his  inaugural speech to the  Progressive International’s  Summit at the End of the World on May 12, 2022, has said, what is happening across globe suggests that "image of apocalypse -- bombs and raids, oil spills and wildfires, disease and contagion -- is a reality for people across the planet." In an adaptation of his speech, distributed by  Globetrotter , Corbyn, however, said, there are fresh examples action, too -- by Indian farmers forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three neo-liberal laws;  by workers, communities and activists against the top giant multinational Amazon's "greed and exploitation"; and by Latin American people's struggle to say "no more to the domination by imperialism, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of their environments." Stating that this is n

Welfare? Govt of India spends just 19% of manual scavengers' rehabilitation budget

By Bharat Dogra*  While the Dalit community has been always known for higher levels of poverty as well as social discrimination, even within the Dalits there is a sub-section known for even worse levels of poverty as well as social discrimination. This is the section which was traditionally involved in manual scavenging. The shocking injustice they have suffered from over the years has been widely recognized leading to a ban on manual scavenging. At the same time there is urgent need for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging. Hence a self-employment scheme for the rehabilitation of those engaged in manual scavenging was drawn up. The allocations and the expenditure for this scheme for the last eight years are shown in the Table below: Union Budget for Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of  Manual Scavengers (in Rs crore) By Budget Estimate we mean the original allocation made when the budget is presented. It is clear from this table that the actual expenditure

This Maoist justified US, western Europe's anti-Soviet stance, even Bhindranwale

By Harsh Thakor*  A glaring example of the extent to which those seeking to identify themselves as revolutionaries can go in making odd compromises with those normally considered as “class enemies” in Marxist jargon is late Kondapalli Seetharamiah. Few know that this Maoist organiser two decades ago was so enamoured by the Chinese three worlds theory that he called for a united front with the United States and other western countries against what he considered Soviet social imperialism! This wasn’t the only “compromise” Seetharamiah made during his career as a revolutionary. On Punjab he took a most eclectical stand of supporting Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, thus soft-pedalling the terrorist Khalistani movement. Among his other opportunist alliances, about which few are aware of, include support to the Akalis in Punjab, on one hand, and the NTR Telugu Desam regime in Andhra Pradesh, on the other – all part of his anti-Congress thrust. Also known as KS, this Maoist started his career as

Why is NIOH-ICMR 'official' making false claims on silicosis?: Health rights NGO

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Dr Jagdish Parikh, trustee, health rights NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, and Jagdish Patel, director, PTRC, have said that the claim being made for the use of biomarker for detection of silicosis raises concern about scientific tenacity of the diagnosis of the deadly occupational disease. The letter also objects to the reported claim by a top health official that it is possible to detect silicosis at the sub-radiological stage. It asks, “What is this subradiological stage of silicosis? We have not heard any such scientific term being used. Again, the report is using a term which is not found in any scientific literature so far. Is this term acceptable by ICMR? Is ICMR thinking of any explanation?” Text : This is with reference to our letter dated November 28, 2021. In our communication we had raised our concern about the scientific tena

Custodial death of Muslim youth: Govt of India told to ratify UN convention on torture

Counterview Desk  Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, West Bengal, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has drawn to the custodial death of a Muslim youth following his torture in police custody after registering a "false case" based on manufactured records. Seeking "proper investigation" the whole incident, Roy in his plea insists, the incident legitimizes his organisations' long-standing demand "for immediate ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment." Text : Here I want to draw your kind attention to one incident of custodial torture by the Deganga police personnel and the subsequent custodial death of one Muslim man from the Other Backward Class community in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home. The name o