More than 100 alumni of the various Indian Institutes of Technology have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern about his silence on hate speeches against Muslims, and apps that shared photos of more than 100 Muslim women, saying they were on “sale”, The Wire reported on Monday.
“As we celebrate this legacy in the 75th year of our freedom, we can’t help but notice the dark clouds looming over the country,” the signatories said in a letter to Modi. “As the country valiantly battles the challenges from the never ending Covid-19, the sharply rising unemployment and masses of people being pushed into poverty, we are now faced with the grave danger from rising calls for genocide of one community.”
Hindutva supremacists had called for violence against Muslims during a “dharam sansad” or religious parliament held in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city between December 17 and December 19.
“Just like Myanmar, the police, the army and every Hindu must pick up arms and organise a cleansing [of Muslims],” said one of the organisers, Prabodhanand from the Hindu Raksha Sena. “We have no other choice.”
Another speaker, Sadhvi Annapurna or Pooja Shakun Pandey, repeated the call for genocide: “If you want to finish off their population then we are ready to kill them. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakh of them, then we will be victorious.”
Citing a New York Times report, the signatories said the leaders of the Haridwar event have close links with Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
“Even by the standards of the rising anti-Muslim fury in India, the three-day conference in the city of Haridwar, 150 miles north of New Delhi, produced the most blatant and alarming call for violence in recent years,” The New York Times report added, the signatories pointed out.
The IIT alumni urged the prime minister to condemn the conclave and to take meaningful action against those involved.
Former chiefs of staff of the armed forces, over 70 advocates of the Supreme Court, a group of students and faculty members of the Indian Institutes of Management are among those who have criticised Modi for his silence on the matter.
The signatories of the latest letter also said the government should “in the loudest possible voice” condemn the creation of “Bulli Bai” and “Sulli Deals” app. In both cases, Muslim women were degraded by sharing their personal images.
“The UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes, has referred to it as harassment and has called for condemnation and prosecution,” the letter read. “The ages of the youngsters who have been apprehended as suspects, suggests how deep communal hatred and misogyny is in our society.”
The IIT alumni said the government must upheld the Constitution. “Your decisive action is keenly awaited on these alarming trends to divide India,” they added.