Breach of peace and harmony within will embolden inimical external forces: Former chiefs of staff to President, PM | India News

Breach of peace and harmony within will embolden inimical external forces: Former chiefs of staff to President, PM | India News

NEW DELHI: Over 200 prominent citizens, including former chiefs of staff of the Indian Armed Forces have written an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the eve of New Year 2022, raising concerns over several instances of hate speeches, including at the Haridwar Dharam Sansad, calling for a genocide of Indian Muslims.
The letter, signed by former chiefs of staff Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Admiral Arun Prakash, Admiral RK Dhowan, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi, and retired Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, among others, has also been copied to the Chief Justice of India, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, apart from all political parties.
Drawing attention to the Haridwar Dharam Sansad and the targeting of minorities in India, the letter writers said, “India’s Armed Forces, the Army, Navy & Air Force, together with CAPFs and Police, are responsible for National Security – external and internal, respectively. All of the above have sworn to uphold India’s Constitution and our secular values. We are seriously perturbed by the content of speeches made during a 3 day religious conclave called a Dharma Sansad, of Hindu Sadhus and other leaders, held at Haridwar between 17-19 December 2021. There were repeated calls for establishing a Hindu Rashtra and, if required, picking up weapons and killing of India’s Muslims in the name of protecting Hinduism,” the letter said.
The writers added, “At about the same time, a large number of persons gathered in Delhi and publicly took an oath resolving to make India a Hindu nation, by fighting and killing if necessary, and more such seditious meetings are being organised in other places.”
Calling for urgent action by the government and judiciary, the retired officers and civil society members said stopping such divisive action will be in “national interest”.
“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 genocide of our own citizens, and is condemnable and unacceptable,” they said.
The letter added that any breach of peace and harmony within the nation will also embolden inimical external forces, especially in light of the current situation on India’s borders.
“The unity and cohesiveness of our men and women in uniform, including the CAPFs and Police Forces, will be seriously affected by allowing such blatant calls for violence against one or the other community in our diverse and plural society. We therefore call upon the government, Parliament and the Supreme Court, to act with urgency to protect the integrity and security of our country. The Constitution provides for the free practice of religion across faiths. We strongly deplore such polarisation in the name of religion. We urge you, Mr President and Mr Prime Minister, to take immediate steps to curb such attempts, and urge you to condemn such incitement to violence in no uncertain terms,” they said.
The civil society representatives also urged political parties of all colour to condemn such calls for genocide of Muslims.
“It is in the national interest that all parties should refrain from using religion in politics and pledge to uphold our Constitution and the wellbeing of our people – thus ensuring both national and human security for all,” the letter said.

Assam Press