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Communalism

'Arrest Haridwar Dharma Sansad Speakers': Uttarakhand Politicians, Intellectuals Urge Governor

The signatories of the open letter have lamented that since BJP came to power in Uttarakhand in 2017, there has been a steady rise in violent attacks against minorities in the state.

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New Delhi: A group of intellectuals, political leaders, social activists and concerned citizens from Uttarakhand has written to governor Gurmeet Singh, requesting him to order the arrest of those who incited violence against minorities through their speeches made at Haridwar Dharma Sansad held between December 17 and 19, 2021.

Highlighting that there has been a steady rise in mob violence from 2017 when BJP acquired power in the state, the signatories of the letter said, “The government has [since] remained a mute spectator to violent incidents. This leads one to the natural conclusion that the state government wants to send a message that minorities, and indeed anyone, who do not agree with the ideology of the BJP cannot expect their lives to be safe in the state.”

Touching upon various attacks on churches in the recent past in the state, the signatories called for action against those seeking to incite violence and hate in the state. They also urged the governor to instruct the chief minister and senior officers to immediately announce that anyone seeking to spread violence will face immediate prosecution, regardless of their political, religious or social affiliations.

They also appealed to the governor to immediately enforce the directions of the Supreme Court on mob violence, which were made during a judgment in July 2018.

This is the first such statement to have also been signed by members of opposition political parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party.

Reproduced below is the full text of the letter and the list of signatories.

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His Excellency the Governor of Uttarakhand
Raj Bhavan
Dehradun

Subject: Need for immediate action against efforts to spread violence and destroy social peace in the state.

Dear Sir,

We are intellectuals, political leaders, social activists and other concerned citizens of Uttarakhand. We wish to bring to your notice that there are activities taking place in our state that threaten the lives of citizens, the security of the country and the centuries-old culture of this state.

Sir, from December 17 to 19, a programme called the “Dharam Sansad” took place in Haridwar which was a threat to peace and security. This has been stated not only by us but by the country’s foremost security experts. Former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash; former Chief of Army Staff General Ved Malik; former DGP of Uttar Pradesh Vikram Singh; and the former DGP of Kerala NC Asthana have condemned this event and demanded to know if the state government’s lack of action with respect to this event means the government wishes to support such criminal activities.

On January 1, through an open letter, former DGP of Haryana Vikas Narayan Rai, former IG of Police (Uttar Pradesh) SR Darapuri, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh Vibhuti Narayan Rai and former IPS officer (Uttar Pradesh) Vijay Shankar Singh pointed out that the organisers of this event openly aimed to spread terror. As such not only their actions but those of the government itself are a direct threat to the lives of Indians and to national security. They also mentioned that after 2017 the state has seen a rising level of mob violence. The government has remained a mute spectator to these violent incidents. This leads one to the natural conclusion that the state government wants to send a message that minorities, and indeed anyone, who does not agree with the ideology of the BJP, cannot expect their lives to be safe in the state.

There can be no greater activity against the Constitution and our country than this. We wish to also remind you that in 2017 and 2018, for the first time in the history of our state, mob attacks took place in Satpuli, Mussoorie, Araghar, Kirtinagar, Haridwar, Raiwala, Kotdwar, Chamba, Augustyamuni, Doiwala, Ghansali, Ramnagar and other places. Members of minorities were subject to accusations, beaten, and had their shops broken and burned. The office of an opposition party was also attacked in a similar way. But no action was taken against those responsible for these violent crimes. Indeed as recently as October 3rd a church was attacked in Roorkee and four people were seriously injured. Till date, no one has even been arrested for this attack.

Given this background, the calls for violence and genocide that took place in the program in Haridwar cannot be seen as mere speeches. They were acts of criminal incitement.

Such activities, and the creation of an atmosphere of fear and terror, cannot be accepted – not in this state, and not in any corner of this country. Uttarakhand has always been a peaceful state. The people of this state have always valued the traditions of democracy and secularism. The ruling party’s communal polarisation efforts and hatemongering are an attack not only on minorities and on our Constitution, but on the traditions and culture of our state.

You are the guardian of the Constitution in Uttarakhand. Hence we request you that, in accordance with the advice of the country’s security experts, you immediately direct the state government to:

– Immediately arrest those who incited violence at the event in Haridwar, and proceed against them with the full force of the law

– Take action against all those seeking to incite violence and hate in the state

– Have the Chief Minister and senior officers immediately announce that anyone seeking to spread violence will face immediate prosecution, regardless of their political, religious or social affiliations

– Immediately implement the directions of the Supreme Court in its July 2018 judgment on mob violence.

Sincerely,

Retired officers of the government and the armed forces

SS Pangti, IAS (retd) and president, Uttarakhand Loktantrik Morcha
General Shailendra Raja Bahuguna (retd)
Lt. Gen. Gambhir Singh Negi (retd)
Col. Yashpal Singh Negi (retd), Pauri Garhwal
Gyanchand Yadav, DSP (retd), Uttarakhand Police
Ajay Sonkar, IRS (retd)

Political leaders

Kashi Singh Airy, president, Uttarakhand Kranti Dal
Surendra Agarwal, state vice president, Congress
Samar Bhandari, state secretary, CPI
Dr SN Sachan, state president, Samajwadi Party
Surendra Sajwan, member, state secretariat, CPI(M)
PC Tiwari, president, Uttarakhand Parivartan Party
Indresh Maikhuri, Garhwal secretary, CPI(ML) Liberation
Rakesh Pant, state convenor, Trinamool Congress

Social organisations and activists

Rajiv Lochan Sah, President – Uttarakhand Lok Vahini
Kamla Pant, President; and Geeta Gairola – Uttarakhand Mahila Manch
Shankar Gopal, Vinod Badoni, Sunita Devi, Ashok Kumar, Prabhu Pandit, Pappu, Ramu Soni, Sanjay, Rajesh, and others – Chetna Andolan
PC Thapliyal – Uttarakhand Loktantrik Morcha
Ashok Sharma, Secretary – AITUC Uttarakhand
Lekhraj, State Secretary – CITU
Satish Dhaulakhandi – Jan Samvad Samiti Uttarakhand
Indu Naudiyal – AIDWA Uttarakhand
Aranya Ranjan – Janjagruti Sansthan Tehri
Saddam Qureishi, Vice President – Muslim Seva Sangathan
Uma Bhatt and Kamlesh Khantwal – Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti
Kavita Krishnapallavi – Anvesha
Bhoopal – Krantikari Lok Adhikar Sangathan
Vasanti Pathak – Uttarakhand Mahila Manch, Nainital
Mallika Virdi – Sarpanch, Sarmoli Van Panchayat
All members of Uttarakhand Mahila Manch, Munsiyari
Biju Negi – Hind Swaraj Manch
Kaushalya – Mahila Ekta Manch, Ramnagar
Dr. Amarjeet Kaur – President, Sada Virsa Sadi Shan, Dehradun
Sheila Rajveer – Mahila Manch, Nainital
Preeti Thapliyal – Mahila Manch
Zahur Aalam – Yugmanch, Nainital
Mohit Dimri – Jan Adhikar Manch, Rudraprayag
Ankit Uchholi – former President, Students’ Union, Garhwal University
Gajendra Verma, secretary – Vatayan Sansthan
Bhargav Chandola – social activist
Rakesh Agarwal – social activist
Usha Naudiyal – social activist
Prem Bahukhandi – social activist
Sonia Nautiyal Gairola – social activist
Sudarshan Juyal – social activist
Himanshu Kumar – social activist
Shailendra Bhandari – social activist

Intellectuals, Writers, Journalists and Others

Dr. Shekhar Pathak – Professor (retd), Kumaon University, Nainital
Subhash Pant – Author
Dr. Jiten Bharati – Author
Rajesh Saklani – Poet
Dr. Rajesh Pal – Poet
Sudha Arora – Author
Naveen Joshi – former editor, Hindustan, and senior journalist
Feroze Khan – Author and Poet
Vijay Gaur – Samvedana, Dehradun
Jagmohan Rautela – senior journalist, Yugvani, Dehradun
Mahipal Singh – senior journalist, Tehri
Manmeet – senior journalist, Baramasa Channel
Suresh Uniyal – Author
Ajay Brahmatma – senior journalist, Mumbai
Priyadarshan – senior journalist, NDTV
Shankar Singh Bhatia – senior journalist
Prem Pancholi – senior journalist
Seema Azaad – Dastak newspaper, Allahabad
Trilochan Bhatt – senior journalist
Shahid Akhtar – senior journalist, Delhi
Neelkanth Bhatt – senior journalist, Chamoli
Amrita Shireen – senior journalist, Mukti newspaper
Shyam Singh Rawat – senior journalist, Lalkuan, Nainital
Sanjay Joshi – Pratirodh ka Cinema, Delhi
Varsha – senior journalist
Adv. Rizwan Ali – Dehradun
Adv. Chandramohan Barthwal – Kotdwar
Digambar – Sanskrutik Sangamam
Dr. Uma Bhatt – editor, Uttara Mahila magazine
Suman Keshari – Author and Poet
Satish Chand – theatre artist
Gurdeep Khurana – Samvedana, Dehradun
Rajesh Bharati – senior journalist, Rashtriya Sahara
Noor Zahir – Progressive Voices, London
Jitendra Sharma – Samvedana, Dehradun
Dr. Indu Singh – retired principal
Gajendra Bahuguna – Samanantar Samvaad, Dehradun
Navneet Pandey – Poet and senior journalist
Chandra Bhandari – Dehradun
Chandrakala – Haldwani
Tanuja Bisht – Uttarkashi
Indresh Nautiyal – Dehradun
Dr. Ashutosh
Shweta Tripathi
Gajendra Rawat
Surendra Singh Bhandari
Akhilesh Yadav
Prithvi Lakshmi Raj Singh – Ramgarh
Gopal Lodhiyal Managher – Nainital
Mahendra Sahgal
Heera Madan Bora – Champawat
Vipin Uniyal – Kotdwar
Gopa Joshi
Indra Rathore
Madhulika Chaudhary
Mahesh Upadhyay
Devendra Bisht
Sulekha
Archana Nautiyal
Rajesh
Sanjeev Bhagat
Kala Ray
Rashmi Painuly
Kunwar Ravindra
Naval Kishore
Kailash Nauryal
Raman Nautiyal
Avneesh
Jagmohan Balodi
Deepa Kaushal
Sunil Rawat
Gajendra
Samdarshi Bhartwal