Over 100 bureaucrats have written an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, urging him to withdraw the controversial anti-conversion ordinance passed in the Assembly last month. About 104 former IAS officers have contented in their letter that the new law has turned the state into “the epicentre of politics of hate, division and bigotry”.
Demanding that the “illegal ordinance be withdrawn forthwith”, the signatories said all politicians, including the chief minister, have to “re-educate” themselves “about the Constitution which you have sworn to uphold”.
A part of the letter read “it has become painfully evident that, in recent years, UP state, once known as the cradles of the Ganga-Jamuna civilisation, has become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division and bigotry and that the institutions of governance are now steeped in communal poison”.
The former bureaucrats have mentioned in their letter the “heinous atrocities” meted out to the youth by the administration.
It alleged that the provision was an “assault upon the freedom of choice”, as it blamed the Uttar Pradesh government of turning itself into an authoritarian regime.
The letter flagged several harrowing incidents, including the Moradabad district where a 22-year-old Hindu woman suffered a miscarriage after she was forced to stay at a women’s protection home and the arrest of a Muslim man and his brother, who were dragged to the police station by the members of Bajrang Dal on the allegation of forcing Hindu girl to marry him.
Under the “love-jihad” law (Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020) passed by the Yogi Adityanath government, a marriage will be declared shunya or null and void if the “sole intention” was to “change a girl’s religion”.
Violations will attract a jail term of up to 10 years.
The UP police has so far registered 14 cases and made 15 arrests, of whom 49 are in jail.
The letter also cited Allahabad High Court’s recent order in an inter-faith marriage case, which upheld that choosing one’s life partner is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution.
Former national security adviser Shivshankar Menon, former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and former adviser to the Prime Minister TKA Nair are among the signatories of the letter.