A group of 55 retired bureaucrats have condemned the recent attempts by the ruling establishment to punish and intimidate human rights defenders, dissenters and poets from State policy.
In an open letter written to the government, they have highlighted the recent raids conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on July 11, 2019, in the offices and residence of human rights lawyers and Senior Advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover.
Denouncing the raid, the former civil servants state in their open letter that these raids at their residence and office of Lawyers Collective in Delhi and Mumbai by the CBI were vindictive.
“The matter relating to the alleged violations of financial laws by the Lawyers Collective is presently before the High Court of Bombay. Media reports indicate that the Bombay High Court had ordered, in January 2017, the de-freezing of the domestic and non-FCRA bank accounts of Lawyers Collective, observing also that Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA) “does not provide for a government to stifle the very functioning of individuals or associations,” states the letter, whose signatories include several former secretaries and ambassadors.
The bureaucrats have highlighted that the raids they mentioned are sadly not isolated incidents. In the past couple of months, we have seen similar attacks on those who dissent with the policies of the present establishment.
Pointing towards the character assassination of several social activists, the civil servants have mentioned that a little-known wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, whose proximity to the ruling establishment is no secret, is certifying some of India’s most credible leaders of social movements such as Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh as ‘urban Naxals’.
Expressing solidarity with the Miya poets, the former bureaucrats observe that dissent and freedom of expression are the life-blood of any democracy. “We find it intensely worrying that there are crude and ham-handed attempts to intimidate such voices into silence, using the institutions of state authority,” states the letter.
The letter can be read in its entirety below: