About 7-8 dozen retired civil servants (RCSs), mostly from the IAS, claim that “having spent long years in the service of the Constitution of India”, they have formed a civil society “to express ourselves on issues of governance and public policy that have a bearing on constitutional principles, conduct and ethics.” They claim that they “have no affiliation with any political party but believe in the credo of impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Indian constitution.” They claim that the rapid erosion of constitutional values compels them to speak.
So far they have written ten open letters on the issues of their choice. In this article I am presenting main contents of only two letters to give an idea to the readers how they ‘served’ the Constitution of India.
In a letter dated June 10, 2017, while giving instances of intolerance, 65 RCSs wrote that
“Student groups and faculty members on campuses like Hyderabad and JNU, who raise troubling questions about equality, social justice and freedom, are subject to attack by the administration, with a supportive government to back them.”
In the letter dated August 30, 2018, addressed to the Prime Minister, 48 RCSs strongly condemned
“The arrests of Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and Arun Ferreira and the raids on the residences of Stan Swamy, Kranti Tekula, Naseem and Anand Teltumbde, all of whom have been in the forefront of the struggle for justice for Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims, members of the working class and women and children (a struggle which has been a continuing one irrespective of which government has been in power) have been the trigger. They have always used lawful and democratic means in their efforts, and this series of arrests shows how wilful and arbitrary the State is to intimidate and silence any signs of dissent and democratic resistance.”
(These letters are available on internet.)
Before I comment on their views, let us recall (a) what happened at the JNU campus on February 9, 2016 and (b) the circumstances leading to arrests of those who “have been in the forefront of the struggle for justice have been in the forefront of the struggle for justice.”
The protest organised on the JNU campus on February 9, 2016 was against capital punishment to terrorists Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat. The protesters who included outsiders shouted anti-Indian slogans: “Bharat tere tukde honge, Inshallah, Inshallah” (Allah willing India will break into pieces) and “Kashmir ki azadi tak jung chalegi, Bharat ki barbadi tak jung chalegi” (War will continue till Kashmir’s freedom, war will continue till India’s demolition). They also raised slogans against the Indian Army.
Those struggling for ‘justice’ were arrested for their links with Maoists after thorough investigations by the Maharashtra police.
Maoists, are active in the thick forests of Odisha, Bihar, and Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, etc. I call them modern age dacoits, worse than the dacoits who once operated in the ravines of Chambal. They wear the mask of Marxist ideology to hoodwink the poor and gain sympathy of the so-called intellectuals who are unable to understand that Karl Marx gave a theoretical model without bothering to examine its feasibility. With the help of their trained armed shooters, Maoists extort money from traders and industrialists, generate income by growing contraband and selling forest wealth. Their annual turnover is estimated around ₹ 150-200 crore. According to the Enforcement Directorate, Maoist leaders launder crores of extortion money through several bank accounts and use part of the loot to acquire movable and immovable properties in the names of family members. At least one Maoist leader was found using his loot for admission of his niece in a prominent medical College where the annual fee was ₹ 24 lakh.
Maoists do not want economic development in their empire because the two – economic development and their empire based on extortion and violence– cannot coexist. These criminals have killed mostly poor people and low paid police constables. This is the reality of their movement.
These criminals are getting open support of pseudo-intellectuals and pseudo-human right activists. The anti-national activities of the so-called human rights activists have come to light several times. They were once again arrested after police investigations in January 01, 2018 violence at Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra. Violence erupted after December 31, 2017 programme at Shanivarwada in Pune to commemorate 200th year of the Mahar regiment’s victory over the Peshwa army at Bhima Koregaon. During nationwide raids, the policies seized around 200 communications. Among others, the letters/emails claim that Bhima Koregaon agitation was a big success’ and that ‘unfortunate death of a youth must be exploited to prepare future agitations and propaganda’. The communications also revealed Maoists’ links with several human right activists including those mentioned earlier in this article, plans to procure arms for further attacks and distribution of large amounts of money for mobilisation of left cadres. The most disturbing discovery was their plot to kill Prime Minister Modi in LTTE-style assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
As we know, the matter first went to the Supreme Court where leftists like Romila Thapar fought for five urban Maoists. After keeping them under house arrest for some time, the Supreme Court asked the Maharashtra police to proceed with investigations. On December 21 this year, while dismissing the petition of Anand Teltumbde, one of the activists, to quash the FIR against him, the Maharashtra High Court observed that
“The offence is serious. The conspiracy is deep-rooted and has extremely serious repercussions. Considering the nature and magnitude of the conspiracy, the investigating agency is required to be given sufficient opportunity to unearth the evidence against the accused.”
“However, now the scope of the investigation is not restricted to the Koregaon-Bhima incident, but the activities leading to the incident and subsequent activities as well are the subject matter of the investigation.”
Is it not very shocking that those claiming to have “spent long years in the service of the Constitution of India” should so forcefully support anti-national elements working to divide the country or to over throw the democratically elected state and central governments by force?
I wonder if their letters set alarm bells ringing in the PMO, Home Ministry, National Investigation Agency, Intelligence Bureau, and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Such strong sympathies for Maoists and their urban supporters and for those shouting slogans against unity and integrity of the country coming from so many retired senior civil servants – most of them retired at Secretary level – is very alarming. It means that the anti-national elements have sympathisers and supporters even in the premier civil services of the country. No wonder, these elements have gained so much strength. No wonder, it has been so difficult to suppress the criminals known as Maoists.
‘Right to dissent’ and ‘freedom of speech and expression’ do not give right to indulge in anti-national activities, right to destroy the state. The Constitution of India does not grant any such right. That is precisely what the protesting students at the JNU and the Maoists want to enjoy.
Those who even after the Bombay High Court observations, consider the urban Maoists as ‘fighters for justice’, are also anti-national. The government ought to take action against them and keep a watch on the serving civil servants with similar mind set. Such officers should never be posted in sensitive departments.
How can we fight external enemies when so many enemies are within? The common people of this country as well as the democratic world will lose faith in our seriousness to fight terrorists and insurgents.
Incidentally, some of the retired civil servants who have written these letters were members of the National Advisory Council headed by Sonia Gandhi though, for official record, set up by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
December 28, 2018
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