Former Bureaucrats Tell Yogi to Withdraw ‘Illegal’ Ordinance on ‘Love Jihad’

Date:

Open letter issued by 104 civil servants says the ‘illegal’ ordinance has transformed Uttar Pradesh into ‘the epicentre of politics of hate, division and bigotry’.

Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A group of over a hundred former bureaucrats have issued an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief Minister Yogi Adityanath telling him point blank that the anti-conversion ordinance that he has promulgated has created division in society. They have said that the “illegal” ordinance has transformed the state into “the epicentre of politics of hate, division and bigotry”. They have also demanded that the ordinance should be “withdrawn forthwith”.

Among the 104 signatories are former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, former Adviser to the Prime Minister TKA Nair, and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.

It is not the first time that retired public servants have expressed their dismay at misadventure of political class. During last five six years, they have been issuing open letters to the Union as well as state governments on issues ranging from communal polarisation to incidents of lynching.

In May a group of 60 retired bureaucrats urged the government to stop the Central Vista redevelopment projects, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic when large scale resources are required to strengthen the country’s healthcare. In April 2018, a group of 50 retired civil servants took note of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s delayed response to the Kathua and Unnao rape cases and wrote a strongly worded open letter to the prime minister questioning him, his government and his BJP party.

The current letter titled “Withdrawal of Ordinance On Interfaith Marriage,” was released on Tuesday. It says that all politicians, including the Chief Minister, need to “re-educate yourselves about the Constitution which you… have sworn to uphold”.

It further says, “… UP, once known as the cradle of the Ganga-Jamuna civilisation, has become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division and bigotry, and institutions of governance are now steeped in communal poison… a series of heinous atrocities committed by your administration against young Indians across Uttar Pradesh… Indians who are simply seeking to live their lives as free citizens of a free country.”

The letter highlights specific examples of atrocities being committed against Muslims in the name of implementing the ordinance. It refers to a horrific case from UP’s Moradabad earlier this month – in which two men were allegedly accosted by the Bajrang Dal, dragged to the police and arrested on allegations that one of them had forced a Hindu girl to marry him.

“What is inexcusable is the police remained mute as vigilantes harassed and interrogated the innocent couple. (The woman) suffered a miscarriage, possibly as a result of harassment,” the letter said.

Last week, two teenagers in UP’s Bijnor were ambushed, harassed and taken to a police station where a case of “love jihad” was filed. One teen has been in jail for over a week for allegedly forcibly trying to convert a 16-year-old Hindu girl – a charge denied by both the girl and her mother.

“Around 11.30 pm some people caught hold of us – the villagers beat us up. They accused us of theft. They caught one boy, I don’t know who he was, and they caught me. I did not know who the boy was. It is not true that he was trying to convert me,” the girl said in a brief interview to NDTV.

“These atrocities, regardless of indignation of Indians devoted to rule of law, continue unabated. The anti-conversion ordinance… is being used as a stick to victimise especially those Indian men who are Muslim and women who dare to exercise their freedom of choice,” they added.

Following is the full text of the letter:  

CCG OPEN LETTER TO THE CHIEF MINISTER, UTTAR PRADESH:
WITHDRAWAL OF ORDINANCE ON INTERFAITH MARRIAGE

29 December 2020

Mananiya Mukhya Mantriji,

It is with deep disapproval and concern that we, a group of former civil servants, seek to address your government on a matter of overriding importance for the continued unity of our nation. We should like to clarify at the start that we, as a group, have no political affiliation but share a commitment to the idea of India as defined in our Constitution.

Today we wish to share our anguish at the infamous Moradabad incident, and several similar incidents that have occurred at about the same time in your state. In the Moradabad incident, 22-year-old Rashid and his 25-year-old brother, Saleem, were arrested, to be released only two weeks later when Rashid’s wife, Pinki, gave testimony that she had married him willingly, without any compulsion. Rashid and Pinki, who married in July, 2020, well before the promulgation of any ordinance on the issue of interfaith marriage, were on their way to have their marriage registered on December 5 when they were accosted by alleged Bajrang Dal men, who accused Rashid of “love jihad”, and took them to the police. Saleem was with them at the time. While Rashid and Saleem were arrested, Pinki was sent to a shelter home. Pinki repeatedly told the media, the police and the court right then that she had married Rashid willingly and wanted to live with her husband’s family. The vigilantes who had accosted them brought Pinki’s family to the police station. What is inexcusable is that the police remained mute as the vigilantes harassed and interrogated the innocent couple. Pinki suffered a miscarriage, possibly as a result of the harassment. Rashid is reported to have said, “I told the Bajrang Dal men my wife is pregnant, but they hurled abuses at us. They dragged us to a police station and called my in-laws. We were then locked up and sent to a quarantine centre. I wasn’t able to meet my wife.” (Rehman & Sinha, The Indian Express, December 20, 2020). Does this not amount to effective murder of an unborn child and is the police force of your State, by their inaction, not complicit in this?

Regrettably this is only one of a series of heinous atrocities committed by your administration against young Indians across Uttar Pradesh (UP), Indians who are simply seeking to live their lives as free citizens of a free country. These atrocities, regardless of the indignation of all Indians devoted to the rule of law, continue unabated. The anti-conversion ordinance of your State is being used as a stick to victimise especially those Indian men who are Muslim and women who dare to exercise their freedom of choice. While the various High Courts, including the Allahabad High Court, have ruled unequivocally that choosing one’s life partner is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution, the state of UP is blithely undermining that very Constitution. The vigilantes are acting as a power unto themselves in intimidating innocent Indian citizens. It has become painfully evident that, in recent years, UP state, once known as the cradle of the Ganga-Jamuna civilisation, has become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division and bigotry and that the institutions of governance are now steeped in communal poison. What is worse is that your law enforcement machinery, with the active backing of your government, is playing a role reminiscent of the secret police in authoritarian regimes. You can pose no greater threat to the nation than by turning its own citizens against one another, a conflict that can only serve the country’s enemies. As Chanakya taught us, a crafty politician must sow dissension amongst rivals. Here you are sowing dissensions among our own people.

We, therefore, demand that the illegal ordinance be withdrawn forthwith and those Indians that have suffered from its unconstitutional enforcement be suitably compensated. The policemen who were responsible for allowing this must be called to account under the law, suitably investigated at a senior level of the magistracy and if found to have facilitated the death of the unborn infant, be put to trial under the IPC. Moreover, the entire police force of Uttar Pradesh needs to be trained without delay in respecting the rights of all citizens; and the politicians of UP, including yourself, need to re-educate yourselves about the provisions of the Constitution which you and other lawmakers have sworn to uphold. While our past communications to you give us little reason to expect that your government will take corrective action to uphold the rule of law, we do hope this letter will contribute to mobilising informed public opinion against these developments and that the Courts will take notice and intervene to stem the rot.

SATYAMEVA JAYATE

Signatories

1. Anita Agnihotri IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, Government of India.
2. Salahuddin Ahmad, IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
3. Shafi Alam IPS (Retd.) Former Director General, National Crime Records Bureau, GoI
4. K. Saleem Ali IPS (Retd.) Former Special Director, CBI, GoI
5. S.P. Ambrose IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI
6. Anand Arni R&AW (Retd.), Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
7. Vappala Balachandran IPS (Retd.), Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
8. Gopalan Balagopal, IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
9. Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan, IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
10. Rana Banerji IAS (Retd.), Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), GoI
11. T.K. Banerji IAS (Retd.), Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
12. Sharad Behar IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
13. Aurobindo Behera, IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Odisha
14. Madhu Bhaduri, IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Portugal
15. Pradip Bhattacharya, IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Development &
Planning and Administrative Training Institute, Govt. of West Bengal
16. Meeran C Borwankar, IPS (Retd.) Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
17. Ravi Budhiraja IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, GoI
18. Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
19. Rachel Chatterjee, IAS (Retd.) Former Special Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Govt. of
Andhra Pradesh
20. Kalyani Chaudhuri, IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
21. Anna Dani IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
22. P.R. Dasgupta IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
23. Nareshwar Dayal, IFS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
24. Pradeep K. Deb IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI
25. Nitin Desai IES (Retd.) Former Secretary and Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, GoI
26. Keshav Desiraju, IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI
27. M.G. Devasahayam, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
28. Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Sweden
29. A.S. Dulat IPS (Retd.), Former OSD on Kashmir, Prime Minister’s Office, GoI
30. K.P. Fabian IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Italy
31. Prabhu Ghate IAS (Retd.), Former Addl. Director General, Department of Tourism, GoI
32. Arif Ghauri IRS (Retd.), Former Governance Adviser, DFID, Govt. of the United Kingdom (on deputation)
33. Gourisankar Ghosh, IAS (Retd.), Former Mission Director, National Drinking Water Mission, GoI
34. Suresh K. Goel IFS (Retd.), Former Director General, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, GoI
35. S.K. Guha IAS (Retd.), Former Joint Secretary, Department of Women & Child Development, GoI
36. H.S. Gujral IFoS (Retd.), Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt. of Punjab
37. Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
38. Ravi Vira Gupta, IAS (Retd.), Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
39. Wajahat Habibullah IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
40. Deepa Hari IRS (Resigned)
41. Sajjad Hassan IAS (Retd.), Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
42. Rahul Khullar IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
43. Ajai Kumar IFoS(Retd.), Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
44. Arun Kumar IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI
45. Brijesh Kumar IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
46. Sudhir Kumar IAS (Retd.), Former Member, Central Administrative Tribunal
47. P.K. Lahiri IAS (Retd.), Former ED, Asian Development Bank & Former Revenue Secretary, GoI
48. Aloke B. Lal IPS (Retd.), Former Director General (Prosecution), Govt. of Uttarakhand
49. Subodh Lal IPoS (Resigned), Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI
50. B.B. Mahajan IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Deptt. of Food, GoI
51. P.M.S. Malik IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Myanmar & Special Secretary, MEA, GoI
52. Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.), Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
53. Amitabh Mathur IPS (Retd.), Former Director, Aviation Research Centre and Former
Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
54. Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
55. Shivshankar Menon, IFS (Retd.), Former Foreign Secretary and Former National Security Adviser
56. Sonalini Mirchandani, IFS (Resigned) GoI
57. Noor Mohammad, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India
58. Avinash Mohananey, IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Sikkim
59. Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.), Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
60. Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, IFS (Retd.), Former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
61. Pranab S. Mukhopadhyay IAS (Retd.), Former Director, Institute of Port Management, GoI
62. Nagalsamy IA&AS (Retd.), Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
63. T.K.A. Nair IAS (Retd.), Former Adviser to Prime Minister of India
64. P.G.J. Nampoothiri IPS (Retd.), Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat
65. P. Joy Oommen IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Chhattisgarh
66. Amitabha Pande IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
67. Alok Perti IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
68. R. Poornalingam IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, GoI
69. Rajesh Prasad IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to the Netherlands
70. R.M. Premkumar IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
71. T.R. Raghunandan IAS (Retd.), Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI
72. N.K. Raghupathy IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
73. V.P. Raja IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
74. C. Babu Rajeev IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI
75. P.V. Ramesh IAS (Retd.), Former Addl. Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
76. K. Sujatha Rao IAS (Retd.), Former Health Secretary, GoI
77. M.Y. Rao IAS (Retd.)
78. Nirupama Menon Rao IFS (Retd.), Former Foreign Secretary, GoI
79. Vijaya Latha Reddy IFS (Retd.), Former Deputy National Security Adviser, GoI
80. Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.), Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania
81. Aruna Roy IAS (Resigned)
82. Manabendra N. Roy IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
83. Deepak Sanan IAS (Retd.), Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
84. S. Satyabhama IAS (Retd.), Former Chairperson, National Seeds Corporation, GoI
85. N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
86. A. Selvaraj IRS (Retd.), Former Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chennai, GoI
87. Ardhendu Sen IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
88. Abhijit Sengupta IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
89. Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Japan
90. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFoS (Retd.), Former MD, State Forest Development Corporation, Govt. of Gujarat
91. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
92. Navrekha Sharma IFS (Retd.), Former Ambassador to Indonesia
93. Pravesh Sharma IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
94. Raju Sharma IAS (Retd.), Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
95. Rashmi Shukla Sharma IAS (Retd.), Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
96. Ramesh Inder Singh IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Punjab and former Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab
97. Tirlochan Singh IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, National Commission for Minorities, GoI
98. Jawhar Sircar IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & former CEO, Prasar Bharati
99. A.K. Srivastava IAS (Retd.), Former Administrative Member, Madhya Pradesh Administrative Tribunal
100. P.S.S. Thomas IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission
101. Geetha Thoopal IRAS (Retd.), Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata
102. Hindal Tyabji IAS (Retd.), Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir
103. Ashok Vajpeyi IAS (Retd.), Former Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi
104. Ramani Venkatesan, IAS (Retd.), Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra

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theclarionindiahttps://clarionindia.net
Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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