52 Civil Servants Write to Uttarakhand Chief Secretary to Not Allow Mahapanchayat, High Court to Hear Plea Tomorrow


India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI—Fifty-two former civil servants have written a letter Uttarakhand chief secretary S.S. Sandhu and DGP Ashok Kumar, asking them to ensure that no communal, intimidatory and hate-focused event is allowed in the state on June 15 on the pretext of a ‘Mahapanchayat’ or a grand council by Hindutva organization.

(Meanwhile, Uttarakhand high court has agreed to hear a petition on Thursday, seeking that ‘mahapanchayat’ be not allowed on June 15.  The petition was filed by Association for Protection of Civil Rights).

The call for Mahapanchayat has been given by radical Hindu organisations, including Vishwa Hindu Parishad. They accuse that a Hindu girl was abducted by a Muslim man and therefore they have asked all the Muslims, without naming them, to leave the area or face the consequences after this so-called Mahapanchayat. Uttarakhand administration is showing no intention to act against those who have threatened the Muslim community to leave the area or face the consequences.

The letter issued on June 12, asked to ensure that any person, of any political affiliation, who instigates or indulges in violence, harassment or intimidation of any other person on the basis of their religious identity is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Among the signatories include P. Ambrose, Gopalan Balagopal, Sharad Behar, Madhu Bhaduri, Sundar Burra, Rachel Chatterjee and Gurjit Singh Cheema. They also asked to ensure the full implementation in Uttarakhand of the 2018 judgement of the Supreme Court in Tehseen Poonawalla vs. Union of India and others for the prevention of hate speech and mob violence.

They added that the authorities should be directed to provide security and compensation to any person or community who has been forced to flee from any area due to their religious identity. They argued to initiate action on urgent basis.

These ex-officers are those who have worked in the Central and State Governments during their career  and claimed ‘no affiliation to any political party and that they ‘believe in impartiality and share a commitment to the Constitution of India.’

The former officers expressed their deep concern at the developing a situation in Uttarakhand, particularly in Uttarkashi and Tehri Garhwal. They drew attention to the threats that have been made regarding a Mahapanchayat proposed to be held on Thursday and ‘Chakka Jam’ programme on June 20 at Tehri, both explicitly associated with calls to expel Muslims from these areas.

They called upon to ensure that no such criminal, communal or intimidatory action was permitted to take place. They appealed that the state police and administration must function as per the Constitution, the law, and the  directions of the Supreme Court to act against hate speech and mob violence.

The retired officers wrote, “We note that these programmes come in the wake of a communal campaign in the region, including bazaar bandh calls in over 12 towns and rallies and hate speech against Muslims, that has already led to 42 families reportedly fleeing the town of Purola on May 28 and to Muslim shopkeepers vacating their premises in Purola, Barkot and possibly other locations.”

They added that on the basis of available reports in the media, “We cannot avoid the conclusion that this ongoing campaign is a criminal enterprise aimed at threatening our fellow citizens.”

Referring to different newspaper reports, the former officers noted that posters were put up in Purola on Muslim-owned shops demanding that their owners vacate before Mahapanchayat on June 15. They also noted that Vishwa Hindu Parishad had sent a letter to the Tehri District Magistrate saying that an ‘ultimatum’ has been given to all members of the Muslim community to leave the valley and in particular towns of Nainbagh, Jakhar, Nagtibba, Thatyur, Suklana, Damta, Purola, Baroko and Uttarkashi.

They said that it was a mystery to them as to why, despite the information available in the public domain, the criminal campaign against minority communities underway since May 26, there was no action whatsoever taken by the administration beyond the registration of a case against ‘unknown persons.’

They drew the attention towards a similar panchayat that was scheduled in April 2022 in Haridwar but after the Supreme Court direction the administration ensured that the gathering did not take place, ‘indicating that it was aware of what was like to happen.’

They referred to the fact that on May 30, 2023, twenty-three Supreme Court lawyers had written to the Governor of Uttarakhand pointing out that the state was in contempt of court, particularly of the Supreme Court’s order of 21.10.2022.

They concluded that the intimidation campaign was being justified because of so-called ‘love-jihad and the state’s chief minister has been repeatedly making public statements claiming that ‘love-jihad’ and ‘land-jihad’ will not be tolerated in the state. They said that it was against both the law and Constitution to target the entire community on the basis of supposed wrongdoing by individuals.


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