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Sunday, November 27, 2022

An Open Letter to the Home Minister on Riots in WB & UP

Respected Home Minister Rajnath Singh ji,

I, a concerned citizen of Bharat, am writing this letter to you to bring to your attention certain recent developments in the country which have disturbed me greatly.

I have been following you on twitter for quite some time, and am happy to see you make good use of this social media platform to keep citizens updated about your views on various issues & regarding your public engagements.

If one were to go through your twitter timeline over the last two weeks, one can see that you have taken keen interest on many topical issues. For example –

You have spoken to Delhi Police Commissioner, asking for a special team to be formed in the missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad case.

You attended a celebratory function to commemorate the canonization of ‘Mother’ Teresa in New Delhi.

You spoke about an ‘integrated and holistic approach to counter LWE (Left Wing Extremism) problem’ at a Regional Editors Conference in Chandigarh.

You personally contacted Commissioner of Varanasi regarding the loss of lives due to stampede at Varanasi.

You addressed the National Christian Leaders Conference

At this conference you termed “India as “the University of Tolerance” for the world” and said that “India is a secular state and there shall not be any discrimination on the basis of religion.” You added that “Union Government will keep an eye on the miscreants and rumour mongers and steadfastly uphold the rule of law in the country.”

You also attended a Dalit rally in Bengaluru –

You spoke to DGP of UP regarding a stampede at a BSP rally in Lucknow

If we are to believe this Indian Express report, it appears that on October 20 you met with Mukesh Bhatt & BJP MP Babul Supriyo, and promised the Bollywood fraternity a “great Diwali” with a safe and secure release of the film ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’.

Before his meeting with you, Bhatt said that it is, as a citizen, his “right to feel safe”.

Rajnath ji, I want to apprise you that just like Mukesh Bhatt, there are many lakhs of citizens who have a right to feel safe and practice their religion freely – but they are being denied this right. Since 11 Oct, there have been fierce riots raging across West Bengal following clashes over Durga Puja – Muharram processions. Many of the victims are poor Dalits who have suffered serious injury and loss of property. Given the current national debate over state of Dalits following the Una flogging, I am perplexed why our media and intelligentsia is not rushing to empathize with what is happening in WB.

The WB administration is palpably unable to control the situation due to electoral votebank compulsions, with allegations of bias in police action. The situation continues to be grim, and the national and regional media decision to censor this large-scale violence is only adding to the feeling of rage and helplessness among those being victimized in these clashes.

At the same time, there are shocking reports coming in from Deoria, UP of Hindus being selectively targeted by district administration and UP police after a Durga Puja procession was attacked. It is being alleged that the SP of Deoria, Mohammad Imran, is complicit in assault and FIR /complaints on Hindus – many surrounding villages in the area are now empty of Hindu men as they have been taken into custody by police.

Rajnath ji, I live in an upscale locality in a metro city. My world is limited to my gated residential society, office in a nearby IT park, and weekend visits to malls. It is hard for me to conceive that such lawlessness, as is being reported from WB and UP, prevails today in the country.

When I think of what the people of WB and UP, who are facing this mob violence and administrative apathy, are going through, I am shaken to the core. As Mr. Bhatt rightly said, all citizens have a right to feel safe &  live their lives without the threat of violence – tragically, this right is being denied to many living in the hinterlands of UP & WB.

We the citizens can only go by your public pronouncements – it is possible that you are in touch with authorities in WB and Deoria, UP to monitor the law & order situation there; but just like you publicly declared your interactions with DGP/Commissioner to enquire about stampede-related deaths in Varanasi & Lucknow and for Najeeb Ahmed’s disappearance, a statement from you on the situation in WB and Deoria is desperately needed. 

Last year, when the Christian community was rattled after several reports of attacks on Churches, you had personally asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to step up security of Churches – even the PM had reportedly got involved. Now, it is the Hindus who need a similar soothing touch to assure them that even if their local administration is apathetic to their plight, there is someone who cares for their well being.


A citizen of Bharat

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