AGENCIES, New Delhi: As many as 101 former bureaucrats have written to the Chief Ministers of states expressing anguish over the “harassment” of Muslims in some parts of the country.
They termed as “misguided and condemnable” the action of Tablighi Jamaat in organising a meeting in Delhi, but mentioned the “utterly irresponsible and reprehensible” action of a section of media in fuelling hostility towards the Muslims.
“The fear and insecurity generated by the pandemic is sought to be channelled into the ‘othering’ of the Muslim community in different places to keep them out of public spaces, purportedly to protect the rest of the population,” the former civil servants said in an open letter.
The entire country is going through unprecedented trauma, they said. “We can endure, survive and overcome the challenges that this pandemic has imposed on us only by remaining united and helping each other,” they said, and lauded those chief ministers who have been resolutely secular in their approach both in general and, in particular, in relation to this pandemic.
These 101 former civil servants belong to the all-India and central services, from all over India and said they “do not subscribe to any particular political ideology but rather focus on issues that have a bearing upon the Indian Constitution”.
“It is with much anguish that we bring to your attention reports of harassment of Muslims in some parts of the country, particularly following the meeting of the Tablighi Jamaat in March in the Nizamuddin area of New Delhi,” the letter said, as reported by news agency Press Trust of India.
The Jamaat was criticised for ignoring the principle of social distancing when cases of COVID-19 had started emerging in the country, it said. Although this was hardly the only incident of such gatherings, both political and religious, sections of the media hastened to give a communal colour to COVID-19, including attributing motives to the Tablighi Jamaat in spreading the virus to different parts of the country, the letter said.
These bureaucrats include former cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, former IPS officers A.S. Dulat and Julio Ribeiro, former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, former Lt Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung and former chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi.