'Can No Longer Look Away': 114 Armed Forces Veterans Write To PM Modi

"We stand with the 'Not in My Name' campaign that mobilised thousands of citizens across the country to protest against the current climate of fear, intimidation, hate and suspicion," the letter said.

Over 100 armed forces veterans have written to PM Modi condemning the targeting of Muslims, Dalits (AFP)

Highlights

  • 114 veterans from all three services write letter to PM Modi
  • Condemn climate of fear and intimidation including of the media
  • Speak against attacks on Muslims, Dalits, support Not In My Name campaign
New Delhi: More than 100 military veterans have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying they condemn the targeting of Muslims and Dalits in the country and what they call a climate of fear and intimidation.

"We have spent our careers working for the security of our country. Collectively, our group holds no affiliation with any single political party, our only common commitment being to the Constitution of India," says the letter signed by 114 veterans of the armed forces.

"We can no longer look away... Our diversity is our greatest strength. Dissent is not treason; in fact, it is the essence of democracy."

The letter comes a month after thousands hit the streets in cities across India to protest a surge in mob violence. The campaign 'Not In My Name' was sparked by the recent killing of a 16-year-old Muslim boy on a train near Delhi by attackers who called him a 'beef-eater'.

"We stand with the 'Not in My Name' campaign that mobilised thousands of citizens across the country to protest against the current climate of fear, intimidation, hate and suspicion... What is happening in our country today strikes at all that the Armed Forces, and indeed our Constitution, stand for... We are witness to unprecedented attacks on society at large by the relentless vigilantism of self-appointed protectors of Hinduism," the letter by the retired soldiers says.

"We condemn the targeting of Muslims and Dalits... We condemn the clampdowns on free speech by attacks on media outlets, civil society groups, universities, journalists and scholars, through a campaign of branding them anti-national," it adds.

Earlier this month, PM Modi condemned the mob killings, saying, "Killing people in the name of Gau Bhakti (cow devotion) is not acceptable.