PM Modi should reach out to the families of the victims in Unnao and Kathua and seek their forgiveness on behalf of the country, say former civil servants
NEW DELHI: In the wake of the brutal gang-rape and murder of a girl child in Kathua of Jammu and Kashmir and rape of a teenager and murder of her father in Unnao of Uttar Pradesh, around 50 retired civil servants have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding him responsible for the “terrifying state of affairs”.
“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,” the former bureaucrats wrote in the letter.
They had written to PM Modi last year also over the rise in intolerance, lynching and hate crimes in the country. In the current letter, they expressed sorrow that the PM and his ruling party did little to improve the situation in the country.
“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…” they wrote in the letter.
Kathua, Unnao Not Ordinary Crimes, Rather A Moment of Existential Crisis
The former officers said that the incidents of Kathua and Unnao are not two ordinary crimes but symptom of the “existential crisis” that the country is going through.
“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.”
They also pointed out that while condemning the Kathua and Unnao incidents, PM Modi did not condemn the communal pathology.
“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,” they said and demanded Modi to remove from government those associated with hate crimes.
In Unnao case, a sitting MLA of BJP is accused of rape while his brother of murdering the father of the girl. In the Kathua case of brutal gang-rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl, two BJP ministers were found supporting the accused. Succumbing to the mounting pressure, both resigned on Saturday. Rape accused Unnao BJP MLA has also been arrested.
Five Demands of Former Civil Servants
The former bureaucrats called upon PM Modi to act on the following demands:
- 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.
Signatories to the letter are:
- SP Ambrose, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping and Transport, GoI
- Vappala Balachandran, IPS (Retd). Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
- 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
- Meeran C Borwankar, IPS (Retd). Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
- Sundar Burra, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
- Javid Chowdhury, IAS (Retd). Former Health Secretary, GoI
- Anna Dani, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
- Surjit K. Das. IAS (Retd). Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Uttarakhand
- Vibha Puri Das. IAS (Retd) Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
- Nareshwar Dayal. IFS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
- Keshav Desiraju, IAS (Retd). Former Health Secretary, GoI
- M.G. Devasahayam, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
- Sushil Dubey, IFS (Retd). Former Ambassador to Sweden
- K.P. Fabian, IFS (Retd). Former Ambassador to Italy
- Meena Gupta, IAS (Retd).. Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
- Ravi Vira Gupta, IAS (Retd). Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
18.. Wajahat Habibullah, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
- Sajjad Hassan, IAS (Retd). Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
- M.A. Ibrahimi, IAS (Retd). Former Chief Secretary (rank) Bihar
- Ajai Kumar, Indian Forest Service (Retd). Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
- Arun Kumar, IAS (Retd). Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI
- Harsh Mander, IAS (Retd). Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
- Aditi Mehta, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
- Sunil Mitra, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
- Sobha Nambisan, IAS (Retd). Former Principal Secretary (Planning), Govt. of Karnataka
27.. Amitabha Pande, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
- Niranjan Pant,IA&AS (Retd). Former Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General of India
- P. R. Parthasarathy, IPS (Retd). Former Director, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Govt. of Maharashtra
- Alok Perti, IAS (Retd) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
- N.K. Raghupathy, IAS (Retd).. Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
- M.Y. Rao, IAS (Retd).
- Sujatha Rao, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of Health, GoI
- Julio Ribeiro, IPS (Retd). Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & Ambassador to Romania
- Aruna Roy, IAS (Resigned)
- Manabendra N. Roy, IAS (Retd). Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
- Umrao Salodia, IAS (Retd). Former Chairman, Rajasthan Road Transport Corporation, Govt. of Rajasthan
- Deepak Sanan, IAS (Retd). Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
- E. A.S. Sarma, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, GoI
- N.C. Saxena, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
- Ardhendu Sen, IAS (Retd). Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
- Abhijit Sengupta, IAS (Retd). Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
- Aftab Seth, IFS (Retd). Former Ambassador to Japan
- Navrekha Sharma, IFS (Retd). Former Ambassador to Indonesia
- Har Mander Singh, IAS (Retd). Former Director General, ESI Corporation, GoI
- Jawhar Sircar, IAS (Retd). Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & CEO, Prasar Bharati
- K.S. Subramanian, IPS (Retd). Former Director General, State Institute of Public Administration & Rural Development, Govt. of Tripura
- Geetha Thoopal, IRAS (Retd). Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata
- Ramani Venkatesan, IAS (Retd).Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. Of Maharashtra