UP Govt, cops need to relearn Constitution: 104 retd bureaucrats write to CM Yogi over love jihad law

Pune: On Tuesday, 29th December, a letter from the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) to the Uttar Pradesh Government addressed the matter of the recent inter-faith marriage ordinance promulgated by the State Government, commonly referred to as the “love ijhad law”. The CCG is a group of former bureaucrats, diplomats and police officers who opposed the ordinance and demanded its rollback in the letter. The CCG has shared its anguish at several troubling incidents under the ordinance and has stated that “the illegal ordinance be withdrawn forthwith and those Indians that have suffered from its unconstitutional enforcement be suitably compensated.”

Of the 104 signatories to the letter, 67 were in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS), 16 were in the Indian Foreign Services (IFS), 10 were in the Indian Police Services (IPS), 3 were in the Indian Forest Services (IFoS), 3 were in the Indian Revenue Services (IRS), 1 each in the Indian Engineering Services (IES), Indian Postal Services (IPoS), Indian Railway Accounts Services (IRAS), and the Indian Audit & Accounts Services (IA&AS).

Indus Dictum has reproduced in full the text of the open letter below:


CCG open letter to Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh: Withdrawal of Ordinance of Inter-faith marriage

29 December 2020

Mananiya Mukhya Mantriji,

It is with deep disapproval and concern that we, a group of former civil servants, seek to address your government on a matter of overriding importance for the continued unity of our nation. We should like to clarify at the start that we, as a group, have no political affiliation but share a commitment to the idea of India as defined in our Constitution.

Today we wish to share our anguish at the infamous Moradabad incident, and several similar incidents that have occurred at about the same time in your state. In the Moradabad incident, 22-year-old Rashid and his 25-year-old brother, Saleem, were arrested, to be released only two weeks later when Rashid’s wife, Pinki, gave testimony that she had married him willingly, without any compulsion. Rashid and Pinki, who married in July, 2020, well before the promulgation of any ordinance on the issue of interfaith marriage, were on their way to have their marriage registered on December 5 when they were accosted by alleged Bajrang Dal men, who accused Rashid of “love jihad”, and took them to the police. Saleem was with them at the time. While Rashid and Saleem were arrested, Pinki was sent to a shelter home. Pinki repeatedly told the media, the police and the court right then that she had married Rashid willingly and wanted to live with her husband’s family. The vigilantes who had accosted them brought Pinki’s family to the police station. What is inexcusable is that the police remained mute as the vigilantes harassed and interrogated the innocent couple. Pinki suffered a miscarriage, possibly as a result of the harassment. Rashid is reported to have said, “I told the Bajrang Dal men my wife is pregnant, but they hurled abuses at us. They dragged us to a police station and called my in-laws. We were then locked up and sent to a quarantine centre. I wasn’t able to meet my wife.” (Rehman & Sinha, The Indian Express, December 20, 2020). Does this not amount to effective murder of an unborn child and is the police force of your State, by their inaction, not complicit in this?

Regrettably, this is only one of a series of heinous atrocities committed by your administration against young Indians across Uttar Pradesh (UP), Indians who are simply seeking to live their lives as free citizens of a free country. These atrocities regardless of the indignation of all Indians devoted to the rule of law, continue unabated. The anti-conversion ordinance of your State is being used as a stick to victimise especially those Indian men who are Muslim and women who dare to exercise their freedom of choice. While the various High Courts, including the Allahabad High Court, have ruled unequivocally that choosing one’s life partner is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution, the state of UP is blithely undermining that very Constitution. The vigilantes are acting as a power unto themselves in intimidating innocent Indian citizens. It has become painfully evident that, in recent years, UP state, once known as the cradle of the Ganga-Jamuna civilisation, has become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division and bigotry and that the institutions of governance are now steeped in communal poison. What is worse is that your law enforcement machinery, with the active backing of your government, is playing a role reminiscent of the secret police in authoritarian regimes. You can pose no greater threat to the nation than by turning its own citizens against one another, a conflict that can only serve the country’s enemies. As Chanakya taught us, a crafty politician must sow dissension amongst rivals. Here you are sowing dissensions among our own people.

We, therefore, demand that the illegal ordinance be withdrawn forthwith and those Indians that have suffered from its unconstitutional enforcement be suitably compensated. The policemen who were responsible for allowing this must be called to account under the law, suitably investigated at a senior level of the magistracy and if found to have facilitated the death of the unborn infant, be put to trial under the IPC. Moreover, the entire police force of Uttar Pradesh needs to be trained without delay in respecting the rights of all citizens; and the politicians of UP, including yourself, need to re-educate yourselves about the provisions of the Constitution which you and other lawmakers have sworn to uphold. While our past communications to you give us little reason to expect that your government will take corrective action to uphold the rule of law, we do hope this letter will contribute to mobilising informed public opinion against these developments and that the Courts will take notice and intervene to stem the rot.

SATYAMEVA JAYATE

(104 signatories, as below)

1.Anita AgnihotriIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI
2.Salahuddin AhmadIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
3.Shafi AlamIPS (Retd.)Former Director General, National Crime Records Bureau, GoI
4.K. Saleem AliIPS (Retd.)Former Special Director, CBI, GoI
5.S.P. AmbroseIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI
6.Anand ArniR&AW (Retd.)Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
7.Vappala BalachandranIPS (Retd.)Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
8.Gopalan BalagopalIAS (Retd.)Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal 
9.Chandrashekhar BalakrishnanIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
10.Rana BanerjiIAS (Retd.)Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), GoI
11.T.K. BanerjiIAS (Retd.)Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
12.Sharad BeharIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
13.Aurobindo BeheraIAS (Retd.)Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Odisha
14.Madhu BhaduriIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Portugal
15.Pradip BhattacharyaIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Development & Planning and Administrative Training Institute, Govt. of West Bengal
16.Meeran C BorwankarIPS (Retd.)Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
17.Ravi BudhirajaIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, GoI
18.Sundar BurraIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
19.Rachel ChatterjeeIAS (Retd.)Former Special Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh
20.Kalyani ChaudhuriIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
21.Anna DaniIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
22.P.R. DasguptaIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
23.Nareshwar DayalIFS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
24.Pradeep K. DebIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI
25.Nitin DesaiIES (Retd.)Former Secretary and Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, GoI
26.Keshav DesirajuIAS (Retd.)Former Health Secretary, GoI
27.M.G. DevasahayamIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
28.Sushil DubeyIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Sweden
29.A.S. DulatIPS (Retd.)Former OSD on Kashmir, Prime Minister’s Office, GoI
30.K.P. FabianIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Italy
31.Prabhu GhateIAS (Retd.)Former Addl. Director General, Department of Tourism, GoI
32.Arif GhauriIRS (Retd.)Former Governance Adviser, DFID, Govt. of the United Kingdom (on deputation)
33.Gourisankar GhoshIAS (Retd.)Former Mission Director, National Drinking Water Mission, GoI
34.Suresh K. GoelIFS (Retd.)Former Director General, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, GoI
35.S.K. GuhaIAS (Retd.)Former Joint Secretary, Department of Women & Child Development, GoI
36.H.S. GujralIFoS (Retd.)Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt. of Punjab
37.Meena GuptaIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
38.Ravi Vira GuptaIAS (Retd.)Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
39.Wajahat HabibullahIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
40.Deepa HariIRS (Resigned) 
41.Sajjad HassanIAS (Retd.)Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur 
42.Rahul KhullarIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
43.Ajai KumarIFoS(Retd.)Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
44.Arun KumarIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI
45.Brijesh KumarIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
46.Sudhir KumarIAS (Retd.)Former Member, Central Administrative Tribunal
47.P.K. LahiriIAS (Retd.)Former ED, Asian Development Bank & Former Revenue Secretary, GoI
48.Aloke B. LalIPS (Retd.)Former Director General (Prosecution), Govt. of Uttarakhand
49.Subodh LalIPoS (Resigned)Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI
50.B.B. MahajanIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Deptt. of Food, GoI
51.P.M.S. MalikIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Myanmar & Special Secretary, MEA, GoI
52.Harsh ManderIAS (Retd.)Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
53.Amitabh MathurIPS (Retd.)Former Director, Aviation Research Centre and Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
54.Aditi MehtaIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
55.Shivshankar MenonIFS (Retd.)Former Foreign Secretary and Former National Security Adviser
56.Sonalini MirchandaniIFS (Resigned)GoI
57.Noor MohammadIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India
58.Avinash MohananeyIPS (Retd.)Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Sikkim 
59.Deb MukharjiIFS (Retd.)Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
60.Shiv Shankar MukherjeeIFS (Retd.)Former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
61.Pranab S. MukhopadhyayIAS (Retd.)Former Director, Institute of Port Management, GoI
62.NagalsamyIA&AS (Retd.)Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
63.T.K.A. NairIAS (Retd.)Former Adviser to Prime Minister of India
64.P.G.J. NampoothiriIPS (Retd.)Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat
65.P. Joy OommenIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Chhattisgarh
66.Amitabha PandeIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
67.Alok PertiIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
68.R. PoornalingamIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, GoI
69.Rajesh PrasadIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to the Netherlands
70.R.M. PremkumarIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
71.T.R. RaghunandanIAS (Retd.)Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI
72.N.K. RaghupathyIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
73.V.P. RajaIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
74.C. Babu RajeevIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, GoI
75.P.V. RameshIAS (Retd.)Former Addl. Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
76.K. Sujatha RaoIAS (Retd.)Former Health Secretary, GoI
77.M.Y. RaoIAS (Retd.) 
78.Nirupama Menon RaoIFS (Retd.)Former Foreign Secretary, GoI
79.Vijaya Latha ReddyIFS (Retd.)Former Deputy National Security Adviser, GoI
80.Julio RibeiroIPS (Retd.)Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania
81.Aruna RoyIAS (Resigned) 
82.Manabendra N. RoyIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
83.Deepak SananIAS (Retd.)Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
84.S. SatyabhamaIAS (Retd.)Former Chairperson, National Seeds Corporation, GoI
85.N.C. SaxenaIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
86.A. SelvarajIRS (Retd.)Former Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chennai, GoI
87.Ardhendu SenIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
88.Abhijit SenguptaIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
89.Aftab SethIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Japan
90.Ashok Kumar SharmaIFoS (Retd.)Former MD, State Forest Development Corporation, Govt. of Gujarat
91.Ashok Kumar SharmaIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
92.Navrekha SharmaIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Indonesia
93.Pravesh SharmaIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
94.Raju SharmaIAS (Retd.)Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
95.Rashmi Shukla SharmaIAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
96.Ramesh Inder SinghIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Punjab and former Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab
97.Tirlochan SinghIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, National Commission for Minorities, GoI
98.Jawhar SircarIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & former CEO, Prasar Bharati
99.A.K. SrivastavaIAS (Retd.)Former Administrative Member, Madhya Pradesh Administrative Tribunal
100.P.S.S. ThomasIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission
101.Geetha ThoopalIRAS (Retd.)Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata
102.Hindal TyabjiIAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir
103.Ashok VajpeyiIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi
104.Ramani VenkatesanIAS (Retd.)Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra

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