New Delhi: As thousands of people from across the country take to street to express outrage over the rape incidents in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua and Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, a group of 49 retired civil servants wrote a strong-worded open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, holding him responsible for what they called a “terrifying state of affairs”.
The letter criticised in strongest terms what they dubbed the government’s failure “in performing the most basic of the responsibilities given to it by the people”.
Expressing concern over the “decline in the secular, democratic, and liberal values enshrined in our constitution”, the letter said, “The bestiality and the barbarity involved in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old child shows the depths of depravity that we have sunk into. In post-Independence India, this is our darkest hour and we find the response of our Government, the leaders of our political parties inadequate and feeble.”
The letter did not spare the serving bureaucrats either, saying they “seem to have failed in their duty”.
The gangrape and murder of the 8-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua shocked the country after a police chargesheet exposed the horrifying details of the case.
The country saw huge uproars across various states on Sunday when citizens came out on the streets with candles and placards holding vigils for the victims of brutality. Marches and sit in protests were held in various partys of the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Goa, Thiruvananthapuram, Ajmer, Bhopal and Chandigarh.
The girl, belonging to a nomadic community, was kidnapped on January 10 and over the next one week was drugged, starved, repeatedly gangraped before being strangled and her head bashed in. It has been alleged that the crime was committed to warn off the Muslim nomadic community away from the areas belonging to Hindus.
Last Sunday, a 17-year-old girl from Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, tried to commit suicide outside Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath’s house. She claimed she had been raped by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his brother and tried to end her life only after she failed to get justice. On Monday, her father, who had been mercilessly thrashed – allegedly by MLA Sengar’ brother — for his refusal to withdraw the case, died in police custody.
Calling the two points “a moment of existential crisis, a turning point”, the letter suggested that the government’s response will determine if the nation will overcome the crisis.
The Prime Minister, the retired bureaucrats said, should take five measures, which focus on capping hate crimes, offering special protection to Muslims, Dalits, minorities, women and children. It also suggested that the Prime Minister reaches out to the families affected by the Kathua and Unnao rape cases, seek their “forgiveness” and ensure speedy justice through an Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe and a fast-track court.