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

(104 signatories, on pages 3 to 6)

1.       

Anita Agnihotri

IAS (Retd.)

Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI

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

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s