Public Statement on a Union Minister’s actions: 9 July 2018

PUBLIC STATEMENT

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 the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Shri 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 Shri 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 Shri 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.

 

1. Salahuddin Ahmad IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
2. G. Balachandhran IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
3. Vappala Balachandran IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
4. Gopalan Balagopal IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
5. Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
6. Dr. Pradip Bhattacharya IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
7. Meeran C Borwankar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
8. Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
9. Kalyani Chaudhuri IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
10. Anna Dani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
11. Vibha Puri Das IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
12. Nareshwar Dayal IFS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
13. Keshav Desiraju IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI
14. M.G. Devasahayam IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
15. Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Sweden
16. Tuktuk Ghosh IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping & Tourism, GoI
17. Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
18. Ravi Vira Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
19. Wajahat Habibullah IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
20. Sajjad Hassan IAS (Retd.) Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
21. Dr. M.A. Ibrahimi IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary (rank), Govt. of Bihar
22. Kamal Jaswal IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
23. Ajai Kumar Indian Forest Service (Retd.) Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
24. Arun Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI
25. Brijesh Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
26. Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.) Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
27. Lalit Mathur IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, National Institute of Rural Development, GoI
28. Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
29. Sonalini Mirchandani IFS (Resigned) GoI
30. Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Nepal
31. Nagalswamy IA&AS (Retd.) Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
32. Sobha Nambisan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Secretary (Planning), Govt. of Karnataka
33. Amitabha Pande IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
34. Niranjan Pant IA&AS (Retd.) Former Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General of India
35. Alok Perti IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
36. T.R. Raghunandan IAS (Retd.) Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI
37. N.K. Raghupathy IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
38. M.Y. Rao IAS (Retd.)  
39. Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.) Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & Ambassador to Romania
40. Aruna Roy

 

 

IAS (Resigned)  
41. Manabendra N. Roy

 

 

IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
42. Deepak Sanan

 

 

IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
43. Umrao Salodia IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Rajasthan Road Transport Corporation, Govt. of Rajasthan
44. N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
45. Ardhendu Sen IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
46. Abhijit Sengupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
47. Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Japan
48. Raju Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
49. Jawhar Sircar IAS (Retd.)

 

Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & CEO, Prasar Bharati
50. Ramani Venkatesan

 

IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra

 

 

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