75 Ex-Civil Servants Write Letter To Centre In Support Of Farmers

The letter expressed concerns about adversarial treatment of farmers’ by the Centre.

3 min read

A group of 75 former civil servants of the All India and Central Services have written to the Centre on Friday, 5 February expressing concerns about adversarial treatment of farmers’ by the Centre, and have further reiterated support to the ongoing protests against the three farm laws.

“The approach of the Government of India (GoI) towards the farmers’ protest has been an adversarial and confrontationist one from the very beginning, treating the apolitical farmers like an irresponsible opposition to be derided, demonised and defeated”, wrote the group.

“The repeated, albeit unsuccessful, attempts to polarise the agitation along regional, communal and other lines are also reprehensible. Such an approach can never lead to a solution”, added the letter to the Centre.

Referring to the recent, violent unrests during the Republic Day farmers’ tractor rally, the letter stated, “We are particularly concerned about the developments that took place on 26 January 2021, Republic Day, the efforts to lay the blame on the farmers for the disruption of law and order on that day and the events that have followed”.

Who has written this letter?

The group, calling itself the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG) clarified in its letter that the members have worked for the government of India throughout the course of their career, and have no affiliation with any political party but believe in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India.

The letter has been signed by 75 former civil servants, including Najeeb Jung, Julio Riberio and Aruna Roy, Anita Agnihotri and several former IAS, IFS, IRS, IPS officers.

On R'Day Farmers Tractor Rally Violence

The letter raises certain “grave concerns” of the former civil service members namely:

  1. No response from the Centre about farmers’ alleging barricades erected on mutually agreed upon routes for the R’day tractor rally.
  2. What action has the GoI initiated against those in the Delhi Police, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence for dereliction of duty”, they asked in reference to a flag being hoisted at the Red Fort in Delhi.
  3. Repeated, Selective coverage of violence by government controlled and other media. "What happened in the remaining places? Why was the peaceful tractor parade in other places, with citizens welcoming the farmers with flowers and food, not shown?”, asks the letter.

Post Republic Day

The letter asks other questions about delayed police intervention when the farmers were attacked in Singhu by hooligans. The letter raises human rights concerns such as the blockage of essential services such as water, electricity and internet.

“Why have barricades with concrete barriers, concertina wire, nails and spikes been raised on the borders of Delhi to prevent the agitating farmers from entering? Such barricades are not even erected on the borders of India with its neighbouring countries! Are the agitating farmers being seen as enemies of the country?”, asks the letter.

The letter also asks for the withdrawal of sedition charges made out to journalists and opposition parties for tweets about the farmers’ protests over “flimsy reasons”.

The letter stated, “Holding or presenting a view against the GoI or reporting different versions given by different people about an incident can, under no law, be held as an act against the nation. It bears repetition to say that a protest against a policy or action of the Government is not an act of sedition against the nation.”

The letter urges the Centre to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, and to “withdraw the three laws and think of other possible solutions, given the basic Constitutional position that the subject of agriculture is in the States’ list in the Constitution of India.”

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