A group of 104 retired bureaucrats have written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, expressing “deep disapproval” and concern at the use of the “anti-love jihad” law and citing specific cases of its use.
Demanding withdrawal of the illegal ordinance, and suitable compensation for those booked under it, the letter states: “It has become painfully evident that, in recent years, UP, 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…”
Among the signatories are retired bureaucrats such as Shiv Shankar Menon, Wajahat Habibullah, T K A Nair, K Sujatha Rao, and A S Dulat – they wrote that they have “no political affiliation but share a commitment to the idea of India as defined in our Constitution”.
Citing the case of an arrest in Moradabad, the letter states that the police remained mute spectators as vigilantes “harassed the innocent couple and called it the effective murder of an unborn child”.
The bureaucrats wrote that this was only one of a series of “heinous atrocities” committed against young Indians “who are simply seeking to live their lives as free citizens of a free country”. They wrote: “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.”
Stating that UP has now become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division and bigotry, the retired bureaucrats wrote: “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…”