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India: Dismay at the candidature of Terror Accused Pragya Thakur for a Lok Sabha seat in 2019 elections - Statement by Former state officials

25 April

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constitutionalconduct.com 24 April 2019

OPEN STATEMENT BY FORMER CIVIL SERVANTS – CHARGE-SHEETED TERROR ACCUSED AS PARTY CANDIDATE

Our group of former civil servants of the All India and Central Services has no affiliation with any political party and is firmly committed to the Constitution of India. We write to express our disbelief and dismay at the candidature of Pragya Thakur for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat. This decision could have been dismissed as yet another example of political expediency but for the enthusiastic endorsement by no less a person than the Prime Minister of India, who has termed her candidature as a symbol of our civilisational heritage.

As if it were not enough to nominate a person who is undergoing trial for acts of terror (the Malegaon Bomb Blast Case), Pragya Thakur, who is out on bail on medical grounds, has used the political platform she has been provided not just to propound her brand of bigotry, but also to insult the memory of Shri Hemant Karkare, the IPS officer who laid down his life in the fight against terror. For Ms. Thakur, Shri Karkare died not because he sacrificed his own life defending ours, but because she had put a curse on him for daring to investigate her and, through his meticulous investigations, successfully charging her for terrorist crimes. In her worldview, anyone who has the audacity to investigate a self-styled “Hindu” religious leader in a “Hindu” country earns divine wrath and therefore would naturally be destroyed.

As former civil servants, we are not normally wont to give voice to our feelings. However, this dishonouring of a former colleague, an officer known for his professionalism, has come as the ultimate shock and saddened us beyond words. The country needs to honour the sacrifice of Shri Karkare and not allow deviant individuals to denigrate him and his memory. Every officer who has served with or supervised the work of Shri Karkare has testified that he was a person of impeccable integrity and an inspiration to all who came in touch with him.

But this statement is not just about Shri Karkare. It is also about the atmosphere of hate and divisiveness that characterises not just this electoral campaign but seems to be percolating through society as a whole. The candidature of Pragya Thakur is not a symbol of our civilisational heritage. Our heritage is not that of acts of terrorism. It is not of majoritarianism but of celebrating our diversity. It is of tolerance, fraternity and of the unifying spirit of the Constitution of India.

To this end, we appeal to the Prime Minister of India to unequivocally condemn, through actions and statements, the existence of terror in any form. He cannot escape the irony of his party seeking votes in the name of fighting terrorism and at the same time endorsing the candidature of a person accused of terror crimes. Martyrdom cannot be selectively appropriated or given up for the pursuit of political ambition.

To institutions like the Election Commission and the Judiciary, we would like to point out that their efforts to contain the politics of divisiveness and of hate have had little impact so far. It is necessary to be far more proactive to stamp out this aberration. Inaction will only exacerbate the situation.

We, who came together to use our pooled experience in the service of the Constitution and to further the values enshrined therein, call upon our fellow citizens to join us in:

• Condemning unequivocally, the statement of Pragya Thakur;
• Demanding that the BJP withdraw her candidature;
• Reminding the Prime Minister of his oath to uphold Constitutional values and appealing to him to take the lead in putting an end to the climate of fear and intimidation and communal viciousness that seems to be permeating the entire electoral process.

We appeal to our fellow citizens to come together and use our collective might to ensure that the India that was dreamt of by Mahatma Gandhi – an India engaged in a ceaseless quest for truth and nonviolence – and the India that the founding fathers of our Constitution conceived of, remains intact and rises to its full potential.

We also appeal to our fellow citizens to reject the pervading atmosphere of hate and divisiveness. Every citizen of India, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, belongs to this country. Let us celebrate our unity in diversity and recall that, together, we have given unto ourselves this Constitution.

1. Anita Agnihotri IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI
2. Salahuddin Ahmad IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Rajasthan
3. V.S. Ailawadi IAS (Retd.) Former Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority
4. S.P. Ambrose IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI
5. Vappala Balachandran IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
6. Gopalan Balagopal IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
7. Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
8. Meeran C Borwankar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
9. Ravi Budhiraja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, GoI
10. Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
11. Kalyani Chaudhuri IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
12. Javid Chowdhury IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI
13. Anna Dani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
14. Surjit K. Das IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Uttarakhand
15. Vibha Puri Das IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI
16. P.R. Dasgupta IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
17. Nareshwar Dayal IFS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
18. Pradeep K. Deb IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI
19. Keshav Desiraju IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI
20. M.G. Devasahayam IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
21. Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Sweden
22. K.P. Fabian IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Italy
23. Arif Ghauri IRS (Retd.) Former Governance Adviser, DFID, Govt. of the United Kingdom (on deputation)
24. Gourisankar Ghosh IAS (Retd.) Former Mission Director, National Drinking Water Mission, GoI
25. Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
26. Ravi Vira Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
27. Wajahat Habibullah IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
28. Deepa Hari IRS (Resigned)
29. Sajjad Hassan IAS (Retd.) Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
30. Kamal Jaswal IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
31. Rahul Khullar IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
32. Ajai Kumar Indian Forest Service (Retd.) Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI
33. Arun Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, GoI
34. Brijesh Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI
35. Sudhir Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Central Administrative Tribunal
36. Subodh Lal IPoS (Retd.) Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI
37. Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.) Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
38. Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
39. Sonalini Mirchandani IFS (Resigned) GoI
40. Sunil Mitra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
41. Noor Mohammad IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India
42. Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
43. Pranab S. Mukhopadhyay IAS (Retd.) Former Director, Institute of Port Management, GoI
44. Nagalsamy IA&AS (Retd.) Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
45. P.G.J. Nampoothiri IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat
46. Amitabha Pande IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
47. Niranjan Pant IA&AS (Retd.) Former Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General of India
48. Alok Perti IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
49. Jayant Prasad IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Nepal
50. N.K. Raghupathy IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI
51. V.P. Raja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
52. C. Babu Rajeev IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI
53. Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.) Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania
54. Aruna Roy IAS (Resigned)
55. Deepak Sanan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
56. Shyam Saran IFS (Retd.) Former Foreign Secretary and Former Chairman, National Security Advisory Board
57. S. Satyabhama IAS (Retd.) Former Chairperson, National Seeds Corporation, GoI
58. N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
59. Ardhendu Sen IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
60. Abhijit Sengupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
61. Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Japan
62. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
63. Navrekha Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Indonesia
64. Raju Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
65. Jawhar Sircar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & former CEO, Prasar Bharati
66. Narendra Sisodia IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
67. Parveen Talha IRS (Retd.) Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
68. Thanksy Thekkekera IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Minorities
Development, Govt. of Maharashtra
69. P.S.S. Thomas IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission
70. Hindal Tyabji IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir
71. Ramani Venkatesan IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra

P.S.

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