Ex-officials sign ‘petition’ against ‘majoritarianism’
Highlighting the need to “reclaim and defend the spirit of the Constitution of India, as envisaged by the founding fathers”, sixty-five retired civil service officers have written a hard-hitting “petition”, asking “all public authorities, public institutions and Constitutional bodies to take heed of these disturbing trends and take corrective action,” in the face of “rising authoritarianism and majoritarianism, which do not allow for reasoned debate, discussion and dissent.”
The oldest amongst the 65 signatories is the 91-year old Har Mander Singh, a 1953 batch IAS officer. Others among the senior retired officials, cutting across various services, include Vivek Agnihotri, IAS, V.S. Ailawadi, IAS, S.P. Ambrose, IAS, Ishrat Aziz, IFS, G. Balachandran, IAS, N.Balachandran, IPS, Julio Rebeiro, IPS, NC Saxena IAS, Jawhar Sircar IAS, Ardhendu Sen IAS, and Amitabha Pande IAS.
Chiding the idea that “those in authority should not be questioned”, the officials have expressed concern over what they have termed “growing hyper-nationalism that reduces any critique to a binary: if you are not with the government, you are anti-national”. In an unsual move for members of the so-called staid ‘steel-frame’ to make, bureaucrats, across services, have referred to a range of developments across the past few months and years and stated their case.