The pretense that everything is fine with the Narendra Modi government is over. The gloves are off, and no one is mincing words anymore. At least not the 49 retired civil servants who created a tizzy by writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging him to reach out to the families of the rape victims of Kathua and Unnao, and to “seek their forgiveness”. The letter is a harsh read, and there are no two ways about the disenchantment with the Modi government. It targets not just the BJP, but the larger Sangh Parivar and its multi-headed affiliates.
“We have had enough of these belated remonstrations and promises to bring justice when the communal cauldron is forever kept boiling by forces nested within the Sangh Parivar,” the letter read. The detailed letter warned against misusing the name of Hinduism, to find justifications for all kinds of crimes. “By giving sustenance to the brutality of one human being against another in the name of Hindus we have failed as human beings.”
“Prime Minister, we write to you not just to express our collective sense of shame and not just to give voice to our anguish or lament and mourn the death of our civilisational values – but to express our rage. Rage over the agenda of division and hate your party and it's innumerable, often untraceable offshoots that spring up from time to time, have insidiously introduced into the grammar of our politics, our social and cultural life and even our daily discourse. It is that which provides the social sanction and legitimacy for the incidents in Kathua and Unnao,” read the letter. Clearly, the message is distinct.
The letter also answers the question why the Prime Minister should be held personally accountable for crimes that even take place in BJP-ruled states. “Prime Minister, it is your party which is in power. Given your supremacy within the party and the centralised control you and your party president exercise, you, more than anyone else, have to be held responsible for this terrifying state of affairs.”
The explosive letter comes at a time when the growing crescendo of disillusionment has reached a new peak. Be it the Congress Party’s midnight vigil, demanding justice for the rape victims, or the apolitical ‘Not in My Name’ protests that were organised in various parts of the country, or the recently witnessed farmers’ march. Be it from the Opposition, or the civil society, there are voices of protests being registered every day. The Modi government can choose to live in its self-created cocoon, where everything is fine. Or, it can sit up and acknowledge that it has slipped. Political victories and expansionist tendencies won’t make up for the abysmal governance witnessed in Kathua and Unnao. The Modi government had come to power, riding on the various tall promises it made. This is the time to fix the accountability, and therefore, the Modi government has to answer.
There is no way it can get away with silence anymore.