Former Cops Blast Ex-CBI Interim Chief for Communal Tweets, CPI(M) Seeks His Arrest

Several former retired IPS officers have denounced M. Nageswara Rao's comments, saying serving officers should not vilify other religions.

New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today lodged a complaint with the Delhi police and Union home minister Amit Shah against senior Indian Police Service officer and former Central Bureau of Investigation acting director  M. Nageswara Rao for his use of derogatory language and comments against notable educationists from the Muslim community.

Meanwhile, several former retired IPS officers have also denounced Rao’s comments, saying serving officers should not vilify other religions. Rao is due to retire as director general of fire services, home guards and civil defence on July 31,  They also claimed that the comments appear to have been made to “appease political masters”.

On July 25, Rao had tweeted to claim that concerted efforts have been made since Independence towards the ‘Abrahamisation’ of Hindu civilisation.

He claimed that in the first phase of “deracination of Hindus” attempts were made towards “distortion of history, negation and whitewashing of bloody Islamic invasions/rule”. Also, he noted that while roads were named after “invaders”, there was “no mention about Krishna/Pandavas”. He also insisted that there was “enormous patronisation of pro-Left and pro-minority academicians/ scholars by government”.

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In the second phase of “deracination” in the 1990s, he claimed anti-Hindus began the “de-Hinduisation” of every aspect of education and public instruction and that there was even “Abrahamisation” of the NCERT syllabus. Moreover, he insisted that the spread of this move extended to mass media, art, literature, entertainment and even cinemas – that, he wrote, “have gone a step ahead by Christo-Islamisation – one hardly finds Hindu imagery nowadays but Christo-Islamic imagery is in abundance”.

‘An attempt to vilify Hinduism’

Through the tweet, Rao sought to claim that there was a design behind attempts to “vilify Hinduism”.

His comments immediately came in for major criticism from those who questioned if a serving IPS officer should be putting out such ‘divisive’ views and why no action was being initiated against him for this “communal paranoia”.

More Hindutva tweets follow

But Rao did not stop there. In fact, over the past four days, he has followed up with more tweets and retweets that display a bent towards Hindutva.

Reacting to the criticism, he tweeted in a similar vein: “Some questioned my alleged violation of Constitution &rules. But I ask, do the Constitution &rules ordain abrahamisation of Hindu civilisation? Debate on Facts rather than usual boring propaganda.”

He continued his rant through another tweet about how “state control of temples crippled Hinduism”.

In another tweet, he insisted that “Hindus are always knowledge creators” and added, “They stole Hindu knowledge. But often couldn’t grasp w/o underpinnings of Hindu concepts. One such is MAYA.”

And on Wednesday, Rao claimed that “Ram is the epitome of Hindu civilization” and followed up by retweeting Sadhvi Rithambra’s inflammatory speech of 1992 in which she declared that temples will be built where mosques are standing. He further wrote:

“India is not secular bcoz Nehru et al ordained. It has been secular for eons even before that word was coined, bcoz of Hinduism. So all deracinates! Stop lecturing Hindus, and instead subscribe to and live their polychromatism which alone guarantees secularism.”

CPI(M) urges Shah, Delhi police to book Rao for spreading hate

The CPI(M) today wrote to the Union home minister seeking action against him. Senior party leader Brinda Karat accused the IPS officer of making the most “outrageous politically motivated statements which also go against the spirit of the constitution”.

She charged that Rao has insulted heroic freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and other notable educationists, belonging mainly to the Muslim community, through his use of derogatory language against them.

‘Rao inciting enmity between communities’

Karat also accused him of “inciting feelings of enmity between two communities” and openly praising the RSS and BJP for the “rehinduisation of India”. Stating that “he has approvingly commented on the ‘growth of the BJP’,” she noted that his comments were also demeaning against “leftists”.

Acknowledging that “an individual is entitled to his views according to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression”, Karat wrote that in this case “as a serving officer, Nageswar Rao has violated service rules” and that he was also guilty of offences under Sec 153A and 295A of the IPC, which pertain to wanton vilification of religion, race etc, and insulting the religion of a class of persons respectively.

‘A habitual offender with a bad record’

The letter to Shah, and the complaint to the Delhi police for filing an FIR against Rao, also stated that this was not the first time that Rao has violated service rules or incited communal feelings. “On somewhat similar grounds when he was a serving officer in the Berhampur Development Authority in Odisha in the late nineties, he made some toxic communal statements. Two official inquiries found him guilty and indicted him and took disciplinary measures. So he is a habitual offender with a bad record,” it noted.

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Incidentally, in 2018, when Rao was being made interim CBI director, the then CPI(M) Odisha state committee secretary Ali Kishor Patnaik had accused him of making “communal comments” and questioning the Constitution’s bias during a 1988 speech.

‘Accused Islamists, Christians and Marxists as the main threat to human rights’

Patnaik had alleged that during a speech at an event to mark International Human Rights Day in 1988, Rao had “accused Islamists, Christians and Marxists as the main threat to human rights”. The Odisha leader, who had also filed a PIL in the Odisha High Court regarding the incident, had also accused Rao of calling the framers of the Constitution as ‘pro-minorities’ and termed him “an ideological friend of BJP”.

Meanwhile, Karat in her complaint also commented that though Rao’s “comments may make him eligible for induction into the BJP or RSS after his scheduled retirement”, he has made these statements as a serving officer and so should be charge-sheeted for violation of service rules. She said he should also be prosecuted under the relevant sections of the IPC.

‘Comments made to appease political masters’

Retired IPS officers have in the meantime slammed the language used by Rao. An office-bearer of the Association of Retired Senior IPS Officers, who spent much of his life in the Intelligence Bureau, said, “whether it is the Army or the police, the officers nowadays invariably cross the ‘Laxman rekha’ (line of self restraint) and nothing happens. It is a very sad scene in the country.”

The malaise, he said, lies deep and is not limited to a few outbursts. “The situation has gone from bad to worse in the last couple of decades. Be it in the Centre or the states the police has got politicised – the officers are seen as somebody’s or some political party’s man… they make these kind of comments to appease political masters and get away with it.”

‘Abrahamisation happened under the British, not right to accuse others for it’

Another retired IPS officer, Maxwell Pereira, who was a prolific writer even while he served in Delhi police and AGMUT cadre, said while officers are allowed to comment, they cannot and should not be vilifying other religions.

As for the issues raised by Rao, Pereira said: “He spoke about Abrahamisation and that is true because the British, in all their colonies, spread their culture. That is no doubt an indictment against the British. But it was not only Hinduism, whichever culture they came across, they subdued it. And this is true of every colonial power. But harping on that and accusing someone else of vilifying Hinduism is his opinion and his reading of it.”

As for the references to the 1980s and 1990s in the tweet, Pereira said those are Rao’s personal opinions. As for “Abrahamisation”, he said: “In my family everyone has Hindu names against Christian names. My father was a Sanskrit scholar. He was a Christian but the first one to become chief of the Department of Oriental languages for his college. He was a strong believer in Vedic culture and teachings and the Puranas and the Shastras but that did not compromise our religion. He was a British officer but he imbibed in us children what the Indian culture was.”

‘There should be no vilification of any religion’

Pereira said he has himself “written a lot on what ancient India was – some of my writings were put up by former President APJ Abdul Kalam and even the Supreme Court on their website”.

But, he added, “There should not be any vilification of any religion by people of another one. I don’t like the anti-Muslim tirade that has been going on.”

Stating that “there are general principles and guidelines that require a police officer to be tolerant and be respectful of other religions”, he said that “it is not codified and I don’t think there is a written law for it. But IPC covers hate and that is what we enforce.”