• “Dear PM, We Condemn the Targeting of Muslim and Dalits”

    " Dissent is not treason, it is the essence of democracy"

    Army Veterans

    July 31, 2017

    To: The Prime Minister of India, Chief Ministers of the States, and Lieutenant-Governors of the Union Territories.

    30 July, 2017

    We are a group of Veterans of the Indian Armed Forces who have spent our careers working for the security of our country. Collectively, our group holds no affiliation with any single political party, our only common commitment being to the Constitution of India.

    It saddens us to write this letter, but current events in India have compelled us to register our dismay at the divisiveness that is gripping our country. We stand with the ‘Not in My Name’ campaign that mobilised thousands of citizens across the country to protest against the current climate of fear, intimidation, hate and suspicion.

    The Armed Forces stand for "Unity in Diversity". Differences in religion, language, caste, culture or any other marker of belonging have not mattered to the cohesion of the Armed Forces, and servicemen of different backgrounds have fought shoulder to shoulder in the defence of our nation, as they continue to do today. Throughout our service, a sense of openness, justice and fair play guided our actions. We are one family. Our heritage is like the multi-coloured quilt that is India, and we cherish this vibrant diversity.

    However, what is happening in our country today strikes at all that the Armed Forces, and indeed our Constitution, stand for. We are witness to unprecedented attacks on society at large by the relentless vigilantism of self-appointed protectors of Hinduism. We condemn the targeting of Muslims and dalits. We condemn the clampdowns on free speech by attacks on media outlets, civil society groups, universities, journalists and scholars, through a campaign of branding them anti-national and unleashing violence against them while the State looks away.

    We can no longer look away. We would be doing a disservice to our country if we do not stand up and speak for the liberal and secular values that our Constitution espouses. Our diversity is our greatest strength. Dissent is not treason; in fact, it is the essence of democracy.

    We urge the powers that be at the Centre and in the States to take note of our concerns and urgently act to uphold our Constitution, both in letter and in spirit.

    Signatories (in alphabetical order of last name)

    1. Lt Col EN Ambre
    2. Brig VKS Antony
    3. Maj MK Apte
    4. Col CT Arasu
    5. Lt Col Israr Asghar
    6. Cdr CR Babu
    7. Lt Cdr PS Bal
    8. Lt Cdr Rakeh Bali
    9. Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee
    10. Lt Gen CA Barretto
    11. Brig Noel Barretto
    12. Col TS Bedi
    13. Surg Cdr P Bellubi
    14. Petty Off Gajanan Bhat IN
    15. Cdr PG Bhat
    16. Gp Capt AV Bhagwat
    17. Col V Bopiah
    18. Maj Gen PR Bose
    19. Vice Adm A Britto
    20. Col RT Chacko
    21. Lt Col M Chandrasekhar
    22. Cdre R Clarke
    23. Col KS Choudhry
    24. Brig TPS Chowdhury
    25. Brig Dileep Deore
    26. Col Samuel Dhar
    27. Lt Gen FT Dias
    28. Lt Col AP Durai
    29. Gp Capt MP Elangovan
    30. Maj Gen Shyamal Ghosh
    31. Col V Nanda Gopal
    32. Cdre EC Govindan
    33. Col V Govindarajan
    34. Col RP Grover
    35. Cdre PC Gulati
    36. Cdr M Hari
    37. Lt Col Muzaffar Hasan
    38. Brig Prem Hejmadi
    39. AVM Kapil Kak
    40. Col AT Kalghatgi
    41. Maj Gen MPS Kandal
    42. Col MS Kapoor
    43. Maj Gen TK Kaul
    44. Lt Col PB Keskar
    45. Lt Col V Kharkar
    46. Wg Cdr R Khosla
    47. Brig Anil Malhotra
    48. Col Arun Malhotra
    49. Lt Col RC Malhotra
    50. Brig GK Malik
    51. Cdre G Menezes
    52. Wg Cdr SN Metrani
    53. Maj GN Misra
    54. AVM RP Misra
    55. Col Biman Mistry
    56. Col RB Mistry
    57. Col AK Mitra
    58. Col Pradip Mitra
    59. Maj Gen H Mukherji
    60. Maj Gen RPRC Naidu
    61. Col Pavan Nair
    62. Lt Col VK Nair
    63. Col RLV Nath
    64. Cdr M Nirmal
    65. Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi
    66. Rear Adm Alan O’Leary
    67. Air Cdre Tanpat Pannu
    68. Lt Col Niraj Pant
    69. Col RC Patial
    70. Cdr Hector Poppen
    71. Capt Subbarao Prabhala IN
    72. Brig Ranjit Prasad
    73. Brig VHM Prasad
    74. Wg Cdr KV Raghuram
    75. Brig RS Rajan
    76. Col SS Rajan
    77. Cdr SM Rajeshwar
    78. Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar
    79. Col TN Raman
    80. Admiral L Ramdas
    81. Vice Adm IC Rao
    82. Col TK Ravindranath
    83. Air Marshal DS Sabhikhi
    84. Lt Col Nagaraj Sastry
    85. Lt Gen KM Seth
    86. Col PD Shah
    87. Brig Baqir Shameem
    88. Lt Gen YN Sharma
    89. Lt Col HD Shirmane
    90. Vice Adm MR Schunker
    91. Cdr MA Somana
    92. Brig Amardeep Singh
    93. Gp Capt DR Singh
    94. Brig Joginder Singh
    95. Brig Mastinder Singh
    96. Cdr Rajiv Singh
    97. Col Salam K Singh
    98. Col S Srikantha
    99. Brig M Sudandiram
    100. Flt Lt R Suresh
    101. Sgt MN Subramani
    102. Lt Cdr P Subramanyam
    103. Maj Gen L Tahliani
    104. Cdr SP Taneja
    105. Cdr TP Tharian
    106. Lt Col JK Thomas
    107. Cdr M Thomas
    108. Cdr N Tripathy
    109. Air Marshal NV Tyagi
    110. Capt AK Varma
    111. Wg Cdr BJ Vaz
    112. Maj Rajah Velu
    113. Lt Col R Venugopal
    114. Maj Gen SG Vombatkere

       



       

    Published first in The Citizen.

    Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.