NEW DELHI – Highlighting the targeting of Muslims and Dalits in India, over 100 armed forces veterans have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemning the situation that they term an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, Hindustan Times reported.
The letter, carrying signatures of 114 retired army officials, says: “We have spent our careers working for the security of our country. Collectively, our group holds no affiliation with any single political party, our only common commitment being to the Constitution of India.”
“We can no longer look away… Our diversity is our greatest strength. Dissent is not treason; in fact, it is the essence of democracy.”
The letter follows the recent killing of a teenage Muslim boy by cow vigilantes in a train which sparked country wide protest.
“We stand with the ‘Not in My Name’ campaign that mobilised thousands of citizens across the country to protest against the current climate of fear, intimidation, hate and suspicion… What is happening in our country today strikes at all that the Armed Forces, and indeed our Constitution, stand for… We are witness to unprecedented attacks on society at large by the relentless vigilantism of self-appointed protectors of Hinduism,” the letter adds.
“We condemn the targeting of Muslims and Dalits… We condemn the clampdowns on free speech by attacks on media outlets, civil society groups, universities, journalists and scholars, through a campaign of branding them anti-national,” it adds.
Earlier this month, PM Modi also slammed the mob killings, saying, “Killing people in the name of Gau Bhakti (cow devotion) is not acceptable”.