‘Condemn and take steps,’ 5 former armed forces chiefs to President, PM on genocidal calls

In a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India justice N. V. Ramana, five former chiefs of staff of the armed forces and over a hundred other people including veterans, bureaucrats, and prominent citizens have expressed their anger on “open call of the genocide of Indian Muslims” by Hindu monks and Hindutva leaders at various events, most recently in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar and Delhi.

The five former chiefs of armed forces who signed the letter are former Chiefs of Naval Staff Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Admiral Arun Prakash, and Admiral RK Dhowan, and former Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi.

Christians, Dalits, and Sikhs are also being targeted in the country, the letter stated.

“We are seriously perturbed by the content of speeches made during a 3 day religious conclave called a Dharma Sansad, of Hindu Sadhus and other leaders, held at Haridwar between 17-19 December 2021. There were repeated calls for establishing a Hindu Rashtra and, if required, picking up weapons and killing of India’s Muslims in the name of protecting Hinduism. At about the same time, a large number of persons gathered in Delhi and publicly took an oath resolving to make India a Hindu nation, by fighting and killing if necessary, and more such seditious meetings are being organised in other places,” read the letter.

Regardless of which persons or parties initiated calls for such genocide, Government of India and the Judiciary, at the highest level, need to take urgent action, the signatories demanded.

“We cannot allow such incitement to violence together with public expressions of hate – which not only constitute serious breaches of internal security, but which could also tear apart the social fabric of our nation. One speaker made a call to the army and police to pick up weapons and participate in the cleanliness drive (safai abhiyan). This amounts to asking the army to participate in genocide of our own citizens, and is condemnable and unacceptable,” read the letter.

They went on to say: “In view of the current situation on our borders, any breach of peace and harmony within the Nation will embolden inimical external forces. The unity and cohesiveness of our men and women in uniform, including the CAPFs and Police Forces, will be seriously affected by allowing such blatant calls for violence against one or the other community in our diverse and plural society.”

The signatories urged President and Prime Minister, to take immediate steps “to curb such attempts,” and urged “to condemn such incitement to violence in no uncertain terms.”

“We also take this opportunity to urge leaders of all political parties to condemn these calls for what is tantamount to genocide of Muslims. They must restrain their own cadres and thereby set examples of their commitment to Secularism, Fraternity and Justice for all,” the letter concludes.

The letter was also sent to M. Venkaiah Naidu, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Om Birla, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Amit Shah, Minister of Home Affairs, and Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence. The copies of the letter were also sent to Chief of the Army Staff Gen MM Naravane, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

The letter also addressed to presidents Bhartiya Janta Party, Congress Party, AITC, BSP, Samajwadi Party, CPI(M), CPI, AAP, DMK, AIDMK, Akali Dal, NCP, YSR Congress, Shiv Sena, TRS, TDP and others with representation in Parliament and State Assemblies.

This month, Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Raipur in Chhattisgarh, and Pune in Maharashtra witnessed several anti-Muslim gatherings. During these events, Hindu monks and Hindutva leaders called for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims. Despite outrage and criticisms, no action has been taken against them so far in this matter.