More than 100 military veterans have in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned targeting of Muslims and Dalits by “self-appointed protectors of Hinduism”, saying India’s strength is its diversity, media reports said on Monday.
The letter also expressed concern over alleged climate of fear and suppression of dissent, as it backed the ‘Not In My Name’ campaign that saw people across the country holding protest demonstrations against mob violence and cow vigilantism.
“We can no longer look away. We would be doing a disservice to our country if we do not stand up and speak for the liberal and secular values that our Constitution espouses. Our diversity is our greatest strength,” The Telegraph quoted the letter as saying. The letter has also been sent to state chief ministers.
The letter signed by retired army, naval and air force officers said prevalent atmosphere was against everything that the armed forces and the Constitution stood for, According to a NDTV report.
“We are witness to unprecedented attacks on society at large by the relentless vigilantism of self-appointed protectors of Hinduism. We condemn the targeting of Muslims and Dalits,” the letter said.
The armed forces stood for unity in diversity and differences in religion, language, caste or culture had never come in the way of servicemen performing their duty, the veteran said.
India has recently seen a rise in violence in the name of cow, held sacred by many Hindus. Several states have enacted laws and prescribed stringent punishment for smuggling and slaughtering of the animal, which is banned in most parts of the country. Muslims and Dalits have been the worst hit by cow vigilantism, which has also been condemned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.