In a scathing criticism of the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government in UP for the administration’s inaction even a fortnight after a policeman was shot dead in Bulandshahr, a group of retired bureaucrats, including the likes of former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon and former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, have stated that under him “hooliganism and thuggery have been mainstreamed into governance”.
The open letter, signed by 83 former bureaucrats, called the Bulandshahr violence that killed Inspector S K Singh, and a local youth named Sumit Kumar, a “cold-blooded murder” with “malicious intent”, originating from the “politics of hate”.
They also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on the issue: “Our Prime Minister, who is so voluble in his election campaigns, and who never tires of telling us of how the Constitution is the only holy book he worships, maintains stony silence even as he sees a Chief Minister handpicked by him treat that same Constitution with sheer contempt.”
They wrote: “(The incident) shows that in India’s most populous state, fundamental principles of governance, of constitutional ethics and of humane social conduct stand perverted….The Chief Minister acts as a high priest of the agenda of bigotry and majoritarian supremacy — an agenda which now seems to take precedence over everything else…. Under Yogi Adityanath…hooliganism and thuggery have been mainstreamed into governance not just to intimidate minorities but to teach a lesson to anyone, including police personnel and others in the administration, who dare to be evenhanded in their approach to minority communities.”
Among others who signed the letter are former Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, former Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung, former Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar, former Planning Commission secretary N C Saxena and activists Aruna Roy and Harsh Mander.
The letter said Adityanath “refuses to acknowledge the gravity of the incident and its communal intent, condemn the perpetrators of violence or direct the police to take action against them but instead asks them to focus attention on those responsible for illegal cow slaughter”.
Asking people to unite in a “crusade against politics of hate and division”, which “aims to destroy the fundamental principles on which our Republic is founded”, they wrote, “It is a measure of the rapid erosion of constitutional values that we, as a group, have felt a compelling need to speak out as many as nine times in the last 18 months.”
According to the letter, the violence in Bulandshahr was a deliberate attempt to display majoritarian muscle and send a message to the Muslim communities living in the region that they “have to live in fear, accept their subordinate status and conform to the cultural diktats of the majority community”.
“World over, in any civilized society, the killing of a policeman is a more serious offence than any other crime, because it represents an assault on the very basis of that civilisation,” it said.
They also requested the Allahabad High Court to take suo motu cognizance of the Bulandshahr incident and order a judicial inquiry. The bureaucrats also reminded the state’s chief secretary, the director general of police and the home secretary “of their constitutional duty to fearlessly implement the Rule of Law rather than the perverse dictates of their political masters”.
A similar letter was issued after the rape cases of minors in Kathua and Unnao, calling it post-independent India’s “darkest hour”.