New Delhi: Hundred and fourteen army veterans have written to the PM condemning violent and terror acts in the name of ‘protecting religion and religious beliefs’. They have clarified that they do not owe allegiance to any political party and are committed to only the Constitution of India.
In their criticism, they wrote about the recent killings in the name of religion, Gua raksha and several other communal factors, apart from highlighting the climate of fear and intimidation that has crept its way into the operations of media houses as well.
The letter signed by the army veterans read: “We have spent our careers working for the security of our country. Collectively, our group holds no affiliation with any single political party, our only common commitment being to the Constitution of India.”
The above statement comes after a string of communal attacks, especially on Dalit and Muslim community. The most recent example was the lynching of teenager Junaid Khan, who was beaten to death just because of an altercation. It has now come to light that one of the accused, a part of the mob involved in Junaid’s lynching, Chander Prakash was granted bail.
Affirming that they stand with the recent ‘Not in my Name’ campaign, the group said it is joining the movement to protest against the current climate of fear, intimidation, hate and suspicion.
Speaking about the society at large, the select group of veterans showed dissatisfaction of the unprecedented attacks and vigilantism of self-appointed protectors of Hinduism.
“What is happening in our country today strikes at all that the Armed Forces, and indeed our Constitution, stand for… We are witness to unprecedented attacks on society at large by the relentless vigilantism of self-appointed protectors of Hinduism,” the letter said.
Expressing concern of the use of the branding of people as anti-national, the group said: “We condemn the clampdowns on free speech by attacks on media outlets, civil society groups, universities, journalists and scholars, through a campaign of branding them anti-national,” the letter added.
In conclusion, the letter said, “We would be doing a disservice to our country if we do not stand up and speak for the liberal and secular values that our Constitution espouses. Our diversity is our greatest strength. Dissent is not treason; in fact, it is the essence of democracy.”
“We urge the powers that be at the Centre and in the States to take note of our concerns and urgently act to uphold our Constitution, both in letter and in spirit,” the letter added.
The letter has been penned down by the veterans in light of fierce violence – in the name of religion – that has gripped several states of India.
These incidents of violence occurred despite PM Modi’s criticism of such aggressive acts. While the PM has condemned the incidents, it must be noted that such attacks have not ceased to exist yet, creating an unsettling environment for the minority communities settled across the country.