India going through darkest hour: ex-bureaucrats to Modi

People participate in a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua near Jammu, and a teenager in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, in Kolkata on Tuesday. REUTERS

Amid growing anger over the way Unnao and Kathua rape cases were handled, a group of retired civil servants have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying it was the “darkest hour” and they found the response of government and leaders “inadequate and feeble”.

In the letter, signed by 49 former bureaucrats, they said they “see no light at the end of the tunnel” and want to “hang our heads in shame” at this juncture.

“Our sense of shame is all the more acute because our younger colleagues who are still in service, especially those working in the districts and are required by law to care for and protect the weak and the vulnerable, also seem to have failed in their duty,” they said in letter.

The letter was signed by Amitabha Pande, Vappala Balachandran, M G Devasahayam, Harsh Mander, Sujatha Rao, Wajahat Habibullah, Julio Ribeiro and Aruna Roy among others.

In the scathing letter, they said, “We had hoped that as someone sworn-in uphold the Constitution, the government that you head and the party to which you belong would wake up to this alarming decline, take the lead in stemming the rot and reassure everyone, especially the minorities and vulnerable sections of society that they need not fear for their life and liberty. This hope has been destroyed.”

“Given your supremacy within the party and the centralised control you and your party president exercise, you more than anyone else have to be held responsible for this terrifying state of affairs. Instead of owning up and making reparations, however, you had until Saturday chosen to remain silent, breaking your silence only when public outrage both in India and internationally reached a point when you could no longer ignore it,” they said.

Concerned at the “decline in the secular, democratic, and liberal values enshrined in our Constitution”, they 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,” it said. 

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