Srinagar: The Concerned Citizens’ Group (CCG) led by former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday asked Uttar Pradesh government led by Yogi Adityanath to withdraw the ordinance on interfaith marriage and suitably compensate the people who have suffered from its “unconstitutional enforcement”.
In an open letter to CM Yogi, the CCG, comprising former civil servants have expressed anguish over the infamous Moradabad incident, and several similar incidents that have occurred at about the same time in Uttar Pradesh.
The letter refers to the alleged harassment of 22-year-old Rashid and his 25-year-old brother, Saleem, who were arrested in Moradabad, and released two weeks later when Rashid’s wife, Pinki, gave testimony that she had married him willingly, without any compulsion. The couple married in July 2020, the letter says were on their way to have their marriage registered on December 5 when they were accosted by alleged Bajrang Dal men, who accused Rashid of “love jihad”, and took them to the police.
“Saleem was with them at the time. While Rashid and Saleem were arrested, Pinki was sent to a shelter home. Pinki repeatedly told the media, the police and the court right then that she had married Rashid willingly and wanted to live with her husband’s family,” the letter reads.
It adds that the police remained mute as the vigilantes harassed and interrogated the innocent couple and Pinki suffered a miscarriage, possibly as a result of the harassment.
“Regrettably this is only one of a series of heinous atrocities committed by your administration against young Indians across Uttar Pradesh (UP), Indians who are simply seeking to live their lives as free citizens of a free country. These atrocities, regardless of the indignation of all Indians devoted to the rule of law, continue unabated,” the CCG letter reads.
It accuses the UP government’s anti-conversion ordinance of being used as a stick to victimise especially those Indian men who are Muslim and women who dare to exercise their freedom of choice.
“While the various High Courts, including the Allahabad High Court, have ruled unequivocally that choosing one’s life partner is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution, the state of UP is blithely undermining that very Constitution, “ the letter reads.
“The vigilantes are acting as a power unto themselves in intimidating innocent Indian citizens. It has become painfully evident that, in recent years, UP state, once known as the cradle of the Ganga-Jamuna civilisation, has become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division and bigotry and that the institutions of governance are now steeped in communal poison. What is worse is that your law enforcement machinery, with the active backing of your government, is playing a role reminiscent of the secret police in authoritarian regimes. You can pose no greater threat to the nation than by turning its own citizens against oneanother, a conflict that can only serve the country’s enemies. As Chanakya taught us, a crafty politician must sow dissension amongst rivals. Here you are sowing dissensions among our own people,” it adds.
The CCG letter further demanded that the “illegal ordinance” be withdrawn forthwith and those Indians that have suffered from its “unconstitutional enforcement be suitably compensated”.
“The policemen who were responsible for allowing this must be called to account under the law, suitably investigated at a senior level of the magistracy and if found to have facilitated the death of the unborn infant, be put to trial under the IPC,” the CCG said.
“Moreover, the entire police force of Uttar Pradesh needs to be trained without delay in respecting the rights of all citizens; and the politicians of UP, including yourself, need to re-educate yourselves about the provisions of the Constitution which you and other lawmakers have sworn to uphold. While our past communications to you give us little reason to expect that your government will take corrective action to uphold the rule of law, we do hope this letter will contribute to mobilising informed public opinion against these developments and that the Courts will take notice and intervene to stem the rot,” it added.
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