New Delhi: A group of former civil servants have penned an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing disappointment and dismay over the candidature of Pragya Thakur and her remarks on Mumbai anti-terror squad chief Hemant Karkare. Condemning her claim that the IPS officer had died because of a “curse” she had put on him for daring to investigate her, the letter expresses profound shock over the “dishonouring of a former colleague”.
Appealing to the prime minister to “unequivocally condemn” the “existence of terror in any form”, the group of civil servants denounced “the pervading atmosphere of hate and divisiveness” and pointed out that the efforts of the Election Commission and the judiciary to contain the politics of divisiveness and hate “have had little impact so far”.
The letter has been reproduced in full below.
OPEN STATEMENT BY FORMER CIVIL SERVANTS – CHARGESHEETED TERROR ACCUSED AS PARTY CANDIDATE
Our group of former civil servants of the All India and Central Services has no affiliation with any political party and is firmly committed to the Constitution of India. We write to express our disbelief and dismay at the candidature of Pragya Thakur for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat. This decision could have been dismissed as yet another example of political expediency but for the enthusiastic endorsement by no less a person than the Prime Minister of India, who has termed her candidature as a symbol of our civilisational heritage.
As if it was not enough to nominate a person who is undergoing trial for acts of terror (the Malegaon Bomb Blast Case), Pragya Thakur, who is out on bail on medical grounds, has used the political platform she has been provided, not just to propound her brand of bigotry, but also to insult the memory of Shri Hemant Karkare, the IPS officer who laid down his life in the fight against terror. For Ms Thakur, Shri Karkare died not because he sacrificed his own life defending ours, but because she had put a curse on him for daring to investigate her and, through his meticulous investigations, successfully charging her for terrorist crimes. In her worldview, anyone who has the audacity to investigate a self-styled “Hindu” religious leader in a “Hindu” country earns divine wrath and therefore would naturally be destroyed.
As former civil servants, we are not normally wont to give voice to our feelings. However, this dishonouring of a former colleague, an officer known for his professionalism, has come as the ultimate shock and saddened us beyond words. The country needs to honour the sacrifice of Shri Karkare and not allow deviant individuals to denigrate him and his memory. Every officer who has served with or supervised the work of Shri Karkare has testified that he was a person of impeccable integrity and an inspiration to all who came in touch with him.
But this statement is not just about Shri Karkare. It is also about the atmosphere of hate and divisiveness that characterises not just this electoral campaign but seems to be percolating through society as a whole. The candidature of Pragya Thakur is not a symbol of our civilisational heritage. Our heritage is not that of acts of terrorism. It is not of majoritarianism but of celebrating our diversity. It is of tolerance, fraternity and of the unifying spirit of the Constitution of India.
To this end, we appeal to the Prime Minister of India to unequivocally condemn, through actions and statements, the existence of terror in any form. He cannot escape the irony of his party seeking votes in the name of fighting terrorism and at the same time endorsing the candidature of a person accused of terror crimes. Martyrdom cannot be selectively appropriated or given up for the pursuit of political ambition.
To institutions like the Election Commission and the Judiciary, we would like to point out that their efforts to contain the politics of divisiveness and of hate have had little impact so far. It is necessary to be far more proactive to stamp out this aberration. Inaction will only exacerbate the situation.
We, who came together to use our pooled experience in the service of the Constitution and to further the values enshrined therein, call upon our fellow citizens to join us in:
- Condemning unequivocally, the statement of Pragya Thakur;
- Demanding that the BJP withdraw her candidature;
- Reminding the Prime Minister of his oath to uphold Constitutional values and appealing to him to take the lead in putting an end to the climate of fear and intimidation and communal viciousness that seems to be permeating the entire electoral process.
We appeal to our fellow citizens to come together and use our collective might to ensure that the India that was dreamt of by Mahatma Gandhi – an India engaged in a ceaseless quest for truth and nonviolence – and the India that the founding fathers of our Constitution conceived of, remains intact and rises to its full potential.
We also appeal to our fellow citizens to reject the pervading atmosphere of hate and divisiveness. Every citizen of India, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, belongs to this country. Let us celebrate our unity in diversity and recall that, together, we have given unto ourselves this Constitution.
- Anita Agnihotri IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI
- Salahuddin Ahmad IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Rajasthan
- V.S. Ailawadi IAS (Retd.) Former Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority
- S.P. Ambrose IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI
- Vappala Balachandran IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
- Gopalan Balagopal IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
- Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
- Meeran C Borwankar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
- Ravi Budhiraja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, GoI
- Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
- Kalyani Chaudhuri IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
- Javid Chowdhury IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI
- Anna Dani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
- Surjit K. Das IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Uttarakhand
- Vibha Puri Das IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
- P.R. Dasgupta IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
- Nareshwar Dayal IFS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
- Pradeep K. Deb IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI
- Keshav Desiraju IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI
- M.G.Devasahayam IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
- Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Sweden
- K.P. Fabian IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Italy
- Arif Ghauri IRS (Retd.) Former Governance Adviser, DFID, Govt. of the United Kingdom (on deputation)
- Gourisankar Ghosh IAS (Retd.) Former Mission Director, National Drinking Water Mission, GoI
- Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
- Ravi Vira Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
- Wajahat Habibullah IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
- Deepa Hari IRS (Resigned)
- Sajjad Hassan IAS (Retd.) Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
- Kamal Jaswal IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
- Rahul Khullar IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
- Ajai Kumar Indian Forest Service (Retd.) Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
- Arun Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI
- Brijesh Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
- Sudhir Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Central Administrative Tribunal
- Subodh Lal IPoS (Retd.) Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI
- Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.) Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
- Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
- Sonalini Mirchandani IFS (Resigned) GoI
- Sunil Mitra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
- Noor Mohammad IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India
- Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
- Pranab S. Mukhopadhyay IAS (Retd.) Former Director, Institute of Port Management, GoI
- Nagalsamy IA&AS (Retd.) Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
- P.G.J. Nampoothiri IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat
- Amitabha Pande IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
- Niranjan Pant IA&AS (Retd.) Former Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General of India
- Alok Perti IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
- Jayant Prasad IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Nepal
- N.K. Raghupathy IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
- V.P. Raja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
- C. Babu Rajeev IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI
- Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.) Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania
- Aruna Roy IAS (Resigned)
- Deepak Sanan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
- Shyam Saran IFS (Retd.) Former Foreign Secretary and Former Chairman, National Security Advisory Board
- S. Satyabhama IAS (Retd.) Former Chairperson, National Seeds Corporation, GoI
- N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
- Ardhendu Sen IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
- Abhijit Sengupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
- Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Japan
- Ashok Kumar Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
- Navrekha Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Indonesia
- Raju Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
- Jawhar Sircar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & former CEO, Prasar Bharati
- Narendra Sisodia IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
- Parveen Talha IRS (Retd.) Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
- Thanksy Thekkekera IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Minorities Development, Govt. of Maharashtra
- P.S.S. Thomas IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission
- Hindal Tyabji IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir
- Ramani Venkatesan IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra