Retired Indian civil service officers have written an open letter to the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for “firm action against perpetrators of hate crimes” in India.
Signed by 67 retired officers, the letter lists the murders and acts of violence against people belonging to minority communities in India through 2017.
Beginning with the lynching of Pehlu Khan by alleged gau rakshaks in Alwar in April, the letter goes on to list, month-wise, similar acts of violence and how in every case, the accused have either not been arrested, or were let off easily.
The incidents include the death of Zafar Khan, who “opposed the naming and shaming process” to make Pratapgarh free of open defecation, in June, the attack on 16-year-old Junaid Khan on a train from Delhi, the deaths of two teenagers after they were attacked while transporting cattle in West Bengal, a similar attack in November on Umair Khan and his friends while they were transporting cows in Alwar, and finally the murder of the migrant worker Mohammed Afrazul in Rajsamand.
The letter said the circulation of a video of the brutal murder in Rajsamand “cut at the roots of an inclusive and pluralistic society drawing its inspiration from the teachings of Buddha, Mahavira, Ashoka, Akbar, the Sikh Gurus, Hindu Sages and Gandhi”.
It also points out how home-owners discriminate against Muslim tenants, referring to a recent case in Meerut where residents of a locality stopped a Muslim buyer from taking possession of his house.
The letter highlighted how Christians were targeted in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
“We seek now and without delay a clear response from the Honourable Prime Minister and his government on these issues,” it said, while asking for “immediate and firm action against the perpetrators of such hate crimes against minorities in this country”.
“These recent incidents undermine our Constitutional values and weaken the rule of law,” the letter said.