Former armed forces chiefs of staff, bureaucrats, journalists, and prominent citizens wrote a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, 31 December, condemning the hate speech conclave in Uttarakhand's Haridwar, which called for the genocide of Indian Muslims.
Some of the signed dignitaries include four former Chief of Naval Staff – Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat (Retd), Prakash EK Dhowan, and Raman Prem Suthan (Retd).
The letter also mentions the targeting of Christians, Dalits, and Sikhs in recent incidents all over the country.
"We are seriously perturbed by the content of speeches made during a 3-day religious conclave called a Dharam Sansad, of Hindu Sadhus and other leaders, held at Haridwar between 17-19 December 2021. There were repeated calls for establishing a Hindu Rashtra and, if required, picking up weapons and killing of India's Muslims in the name of protecting Hinduism," the letter said.
'Government Must Take Action'
Calling the incident ‘unacceptable’, the letter stated, “Regardless of which persons of parties initiated calls for such genocide, Government of India and the judiciary, at the highest level, need to take urgent action."
It added, "We cannot allow such incitement to violence together with public expressions of hate, which not only constitute serious breaches of internal security, but which could also tear apart the social fabric of our nation. One speaker made call to the army and police to pick up weapons and participate in the cleanliness drive (safai abhiyan). This amounts to asking the army to participate in genocide or our own citizens, and is condemnable and unacceptable.”
A three-day hate speech conclave was organised by the controversial Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand from 17 to 19 December in Uttarakhand's pilgrimage city of Haridwar, where multiple calls to kill minorities and attack their religious spaces were made.
A part of the event was live-streamed on social media. The videos of some of the speeches have also gone viral.