India's ex-civil servants seek Jayant Sinha's resignation from govt, BJP apology for garlanding lynching accused

By Our Representative
About 50 retired Indian Administrative, Police and Foreign service officers have strongly condemned the open endorsement of the accused in the Ramgarh lynching by Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha. The signatories include former state chief secretaries, former secretaries to Government of India, former director generals of police, and former ambassadors to different countries.
Demanding his resignation, they have said that his decision to offer sweets and garland the eight accused in the lynching of Alimullah a year ago by a cow mob is an open contempt of the rule of law and the Constitution of India.
At the same time, the ex-civil servants have asked the BJP to apologise for his action to the people of India and asked their junior colleagues in service to firmly adhere to the rule of law and not be intimidated by the actions of powerful and influential groups.

Text of the letter

Our group of retired civil servants has, over the past year, drawn the attention of the powers that be, particularly the Government of India, to the promotion of an environment that encourages violence, in both word and deed. Apart from reckless utterances at election times aimed at fostering a feeling of hate and enmity in the majority community about the 'other’, a number of other specific instances have highlighted the horrifying apathy, if not implicit support, of various governments, at the central and state levels, to vigilante violence directed against individuals of specific communities.
But what has been even more mind-numbing has been the open challenge to the rule of law by those entrusted with its protection. The latest happening at Hazaribagh has been especially shattering for our group, coming as it did from a member of the Union Council of Ministers. Those convicted of the brutal lynching last year at Ramgarh (Jharkhand) are entitled to the due process of law, including getting bail pending a decision of the High Court on their conviction.
It was, however, most unseemly of Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha to felicitate the convicts as though they were some revolutionaries in a freedom struggle. His subsequent feeble justifications on social media do not hold water. If he genuinely felt that the law should take its course, prudence (if not humanity) dictated that he should have been circumspect in his actions. We strongly condemn his action, which amounts to showing contempt for the rule of law and the Constitution of India, which he is duty bound to uphold.
The latest episode comes on the heels of repeated incidents which highlight the contempt which representatives of the ruling party and their followers have for the rule of law. Whether it is the act of a Union Minister draping the body of a riot accused in the national tricolour, the instigation by ruling party ministers of Jammu & Kashmir in the Kathua rape case or the efforts to subvert due process of law in the brutal Rajsamand murder case, all such cases only indicate a majoritarian mindset that believes it is entitled to use the law to meet its own narrow ends.
The larger and chilling message that Sinha's action sends out is that there is a license to kill minorities and that those who are accused of such crimes will be enthusiastically supported financially, legally and politically. In the past, when there were protests against partisan support for such revolting actions, the central government conveniently used the fig leaf of constitutional separation of powers to argue that the locus standi lay with the concerned states, despite most of these states being ruled by the same party, which was in power at the centre.
Now that a Union Minister has openly questioned a criminal case where his own party government in the state had, admirably in our opinion, prosecuted and brought to justice the accused, we would like to know what stand the Government of India proposes to take. We demand the immediate resignation/removal of Jayant Sinha from the Union Council of Ministers and an apology to the people of India from the party he represents for brazenly sympathizing with those convicted of murder.
We also urge our colleagues in the civil services to firmly adhere to the rule of law and not be intimidated by the actions of powerful and influential groups, which seek to spread the poison of disharmony and enmity in our multicultural society.
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Click HERE for list of signatories

Comments

SB said…
The issue is relevant
But none of these signatories are men of great stature
Nice way to be in the limelight!