Former Indian navy chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to ‘stem the rot’ of communal hatred and attacks on minorities and Dalits under the rule of the right wing BJP-led government.
“Today, as a veteran in my eighties, I am forced to hang my head in shame as I witness a series of incidents and assaults on our fellow citizens, especially minorities and Dalits,” wrote the former navy chief in the letter addressed to the Indian president and prime minister.
“Why are we bearing witness to increasing attacks on minorities across the country, ever since the present government came to power in May 2014? It appears that certain communities are being singled out for special attention – for instance Muslims.
“Today, a Muslim has to prove his or her loyalty, and they are being repeatedly put in a situation where their places of worship are under attack, as indeed their eating habits, and other basic freedoms,” wrote Ramdas.
Ramdas criticised the BJP and its right-wing Hindu nationalist allies of encouraging mob behaviour and intimidation of minority communities in India.
“There seems to be a systematic and well orchestrated attempt to impose a majoritarian single point agenda of creating a Hindu Rashtra in India – led by the RSS and their network of groups, which is disturbing to say the least.”
Ramdas also point to the seemingly silent attitude adopted by the Modi-led government in response to such incidents.
“Most shocking of all is the fact there has been no unambiguous condemnation of such actions and behaviour by those at the helm of affairs in the country.”
He warned the top Indian leadership that such action was akin to “playing with fire in a nation where minorities – especially Muslims and Christians, as also dalits and adivasis, are already feeling discriminated and marginalised”.
He said that recent incidents of violence show the image of India as “an imperfect democracy where all forms of dissent are discouraged and human rights trampled upon with impunity”.
“If we do not stem the rot now – it might be too late,” he warned, urging the president and prime minister to take all necessary steps to bring “dignity, fraternity and equality” every Indian citizen.