THE Constitutional Conduct Group, a non-partisan group of former civil servants, earlier today wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister on the rise in the politics of hate that targets the Muslim and minority communities, as well as consistently violating the basic principles of the Constitution. The letter has 108 signatories.
Expressing its “anger and anguish”, the Group in this letter points out the heightened violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims, seen in the last few years in several states such as Assam, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Notably, the letter highlights that all the states, barring Delhi, have the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] in power.
The Group states that, apart from the politics of assertion of Hindutva identity, “what is alarming now is the subordination of fundamental principles of our Constitution and of the rule of law to the forced of majoritarianism, in which the state appears to be fully complicit”.
On the disturbing alterations to the administration of law, the Group observes that instead of performing its duties of maintaining peace and harmony, the law is being used to instil a perpetual state of fear within the minority communities by using legal means such as – anti-conversion laws, laws proscribing the consumption of beef, encroachment removal, and prescribing uniform codes in educational institutions, among other things. The letter highlights that such legal means are adopted to ensure that the minorities and the marginalised accept their status as citizens who are subordinate to majoritarian political power, as well as majoritarian cultural and social norms. It brings to light that such “twisting” of the law threatens their “constitutional right to practice their own faith, follow their own customs, dress and personal laws, and exercise their own food choices”.
Describing the facilitation and approval lent to mischievous and tyrannical local groups by those at the highest political levels in the state and union governments, the letter states: “there is little doubt how the ground for their operations is made fertile, …how the propaganda machinery of a party as well as the state is made available to them to defend their actions.”
Referring to the recent Jahangirpuri incident, the Group emphasizes in its letter that such incidents are not confined to building the grounds for a Hindu Rashtra, but also used as a means to alter the foundations of the constitutional and legal framework that prevent such a development. It further points out that the bulldozer has become a metaphor for the exercise of political and administrative power, whereby the notions of ‘due process’ and ‘rule of law’ stand demolished.
In its plea to the Prime Minister to break his silence on such an enormous societal threat, the Group writes: “[T]he threat we are facing is unprecedented and at stake is not just constitutional morality and conduct; it is that the unique syncretic social fabric, which is our greatest civilizational inheritance and which our constitution is so meticulously designed to conserve is likely to be torn apart.”
The Group, in its concluding remarks in the letter, speaks to the Prime Minister’s promise of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, to call for an end of politics of hate practiced by the BJP governments, and to restore the climate of fraternity and communal harmony.
Click here to view the complete letter, along with the list of signatories.