5 Ex-Army Chiefs writes to Modi on hate speech against Muslims
President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have received letters from five Ex-Chiefs of the Indian armed forces, as well as over a hundred other people, including veterans, bureaucrats, and prominent citizens, regarding an “open call for the genocide of Indian Muslims” at various events, most recently in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar and Delhi. Targeting of other minorities including Christians, Dalits, and Sikhs, is also mentioned in the letter.
The letter alluded to the present situation on India’s borders, warning that such demands for violence might spark domestic strife as well as empower outside forces.
Internal disruption will empower exterior powers, the letter reads. It adds that allowing open calls for violence against one or more communities in diverse Indian society would have a major impact on the unity and cohesion of its men and women in uniform.
Making reference to “Dharma Sansad” in Haridwar, where participants explicitly called for racial extermination of Indian Muslims, it said, “We are greatly troubled by the substance of statements made during a 3-day religious conclave called Dharma Sansad, of Hindu Sadhus and other dignitaries, held in Haridwar between 17-19 December 2021,” it added. “There have been repeated demands for the establishment of a Hindu Rashtra and, if necessary, the arming and murdering of India’s Muslims in the cause of Hinduism”, mentions the letter.
The letter also recalls an event in Delhi in which a huge group of people assembled and openly swore an oath to make India a Hindu nation, even if it required fighting and killing. It stated that “similar seditious assemblies are being organized in other areas.”
“We cannot allow such incitement to violence together with public expressions of hate – which not only constitute serious breaches of internal security but which could also tear apart the social fabric of our nation. One speaker made a call to the army and police to pick up weapons and participate in the cleanliness drive (safai abhiyan). This amounts to asking the army to participate in the genocide of our own citizens, and is condemnable and unacceptable,” it added.
Seventy-six Supreme Court counsel had also written to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, requesting that the Supreme Court take suo moto notice of the violent threats.
The advocates had written that in the absence of police action, “urgent court intervention is essential to avoid such events that appear to have become the rule of the day,” naming a list of those who had made the call.
Yati Narasimhanand, a religious leader who has been accused of instigating violence in the past with his inflammatory statements, organized the Haridwar conclave.