In a hard-hitting open letter addressed to the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday, 104 retired IAS and IFS officers have called for the immediate withdrawal of what they called illegal Anti-Conversion Ordinance.
The letter whose signatories include former National Security Adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon and former foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, asked the chief minister to “re-educate yourselves about the Constitution which you… have sworn to uphold”.
The letter further said: “…UP, once known as the cradle of the Ganga-Jamuna civilization, has become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division and bigotry, and institutions of governance are now steeped in communal poison.”
It also said: “… a series of heinous atrocities committed by your administration against young Indians across Uttar Pradesh… Indians who are simply seeking to live their lives as free citizens of a free country.”
Apart from UP, several other BJP-ruled states are making laws in this regard. In common parlance it is called law against Love Jihad.
Besides the retired IAS and IFS officers, at least four former judges had also criticized the ordinance and called it ‘un-constitutional’. This is not the first time that retired bureaucrats, diplomats and police-officers have come out openly against the government in the last six years.
Several cases of harassment and thrashing of young boys and girls have been reported in the past few months, especially in Uttar Pradesh. It needs to be mentioned that about three dozen people have so far been arrested in UP since the ordinance was promulgated on November 28.
The situation has come to such a pass that even the oldest NDA ally, the Janata Dal-United on December 27, had to come out openly against it. The party spokesman, KC Tyagi told newsmen after the national executive meeting that there is no scope for such law in the Constitution. An attempt is being made to create hatred in the society, he added.