A Letter To Prime Minister Modi From Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave

15 April 2023 12:17 PM GMT

  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
    • Whatsapp
    • Linkedin
    • Whatsapp
    • Linkedin
    • Whatsapp
    • Linkedin
  • A Letter To Prime Minister Modi From Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave

    Even 75 years after independence, minority communities are facing harassment as fringe elements connive with the police and there is a stoic silence from the judiciary, senior advocate Dushyant Dave wrote in a letter to PM Modi

    Dear Prime Minister,These path-breaking messages have rightly been described by you, Sir, as inspirations and not merely slogans. You have described this broadly as Secularism in action saying, “Country and its Citizens come First”. You carried this message, and brilliantly too, to the world when in September 2019 you addressed the 74 th United Nations General Assembly Session. You dreamt...

    Dear Prime Minister,

    These path-breaking messages have rightly been described by you, Sir, as inspirations and not merely slogans. You have described this broadly as Secularism in action saying, “Country and its Citizens come First”. You carried this message, and brilliantly too, to the world when in September 2019 you addressed the 74 th United Nations General Assembly Session. You dreamt of “ Jan bhagidari Se Jan Kalyan”, promising “Together we will build a strong and inclusive India”. You have once rightly said, “As Indians, the people of the Country had only one caste, Indianness”. You even pitched for a 100% India to fully utilise the country’s capabilities in August 2021. In January 2023, addressing the BJP national executives, you told the nation that India’s best period was coming and cajoled the people, especially those in and with the BJP, to walk with people of all religions and castes. You forewarned them not to make wrong statements about the Muslim community. You cautioned them not to make “ अमर्यादित” statements and told them not to speak against any religion or caste. Your visit to the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church on Easter Sunday was significant.

    Sir, even a sceptic like me cannot doubt the sincerity of your messages to the people of India. Nobody can dispute that, besides being the most popular leader of the country in the recent past and perhaps in the foreseeable future, you are working hard to take India forward. Your energy and indefatigable efforts are lauded by one and all. People believe that you are a leader with complete control of the situation in the country. Having publicly disagreed with you, Sir, on numerous occasions on your policies and actions or inactions, I am firmly of the view that if you fail, India will recede into anarchy from which it will take a long time to recover.

    Yet, why do I feel worried and unsure about India’s future? Today’s India is clearly a tale of two Indias. One is seeking to progress on economic and political fronts and the other is doing not so well on the social and human fronts. Sir, let me share with you some of the recent instances to my knowledge which have shaken me strongly.

    First, is the case of young 23-year-old intern Sonu Mansoori, who was arrested at the instance of a group of young men claiming to be members of VHP in Indore on January 28, 2023. She was not guilty of any offence which required her to be arrested. Yet the police arrested her on completely trumped-up charges, and, sadly the lower Judiciary first sent her to remand and then declined her bail. Ultimately the Supreme Court had to intervene and ordered her release on March 22, 2023. She came out of Jail on March 24, 2023, after spending 54 days. Her only crime was that she happened to be in court along with her senior to oppose the bail of one Shri Tanu Sharma of VHP, who contrary to your message to the country, disrupted the screening of the film Pathanin a theatre. Yet, he was released on bail as soon as possible.

    Second, is the matter involving a group of Christians, who are doctors and staff of Broadwell Christian Hospital, Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh also the Priest and parish nurse in an adjoining Church who all had gathered to offer prayers on April 14, 2022. A mob claiming to be from a Hindu organisation arrived there, locked the church, and called the police, who took all the worshipers including the children to the Police Station, and late at 2:54 AM FIR was registered alleging unlawful conversion. Even the magistrate refused to remand them under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021 but, sadly allowed remands under Sections 153A and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. Counter-complaints by the Church against the mob for illegal trespass and violence were never investigated. Subsequently, several FIRs were lodged on January 23, 2023, and January 24, 2023, for the same incident by different persons alleging forcible conversion. As many as 37 people came to be arrested and while they got bail after spending diverse time in jail in the first FIR, their faith hangs in balance in the subsequent three FIRs. In one such FIR, the Supreme Court intervened and granted interim protection.

    Third, is the case in Gujarat where FIR was registered sometime back against named persons alleging conversion by Muslims 15 years earlier. Many people were arrested, remained in jail, and were bailed out after spending long periods. However, one young man, who had no connection with alleged conversions and who was a student at the relevant time was roped in alleging that “he was teaching children of the persons who were allegedly converted”. This young man with no history of a criminal nature ran from pillar to post but could not get anticipatory bail till the Supreme Court intervenes on May 13, 2022, and granted protection from arrest which was later confirmed on February 17, 2023, with a hanging sword from the Supreme Court to the effect that “… it will be open for the Investigating Agency to move an appropriate application before the concerned Court and the present order shall not come in the way of the Investigating Agency.

    Besides these, hundreds of innocent citizens belonging to minority communities are facing harassment of one kind or another at the instance of fringe elements in connivance with the police and stoic silence from the Judiciary as reported in the media. Citizens are deprived of their liberty, peace, tranquility, dignity, livelihood, and very survival in the neighbourhoods where they have lived for generations. Nizamuddin Markaz incident is one such classic and sad example where even COVID-19 sickness was criminalised by the police in Delhi in active connivance with some section of the media who called the Muslim worshippers who may have contracted Covid by calling them as “Walking terrorists”, “Corona Factory”, “Headquarter of Covid virus” and etc. They were arrested in hundreds and spent months and months in jail across the country till released by Courts. Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court came down holding that “Maharashtra police acted mechanically. It appears that the State Government acted under political compulsion and the police also did not dare to exercise powers given to them under provisions of procedural law like Cr.P.C. and substantive laws. The record shows that there was non-application of mind by police and that is why even when no record was available to make out prima facie case, chargesheets are filed by police”.

    Very recently Nation has witnessed statements from the fringe groups inciting people against Muslims and Christians, especially in BJP-ruled States like Gujarat. These statements are highly provocative and extremely disturbing. Unfortunately, almost all such statements go unpunished or even un-investigated.

    Sir, it is very clear that someone is trying to sabotage your agenda and kill your dreams. The fact that many of these incidents are taking place in BJP-ruled States clearly shows a conspiracy to undermine your authority. An incident involving actors Ranbir Kapor and Alia Bhat on September 7, 2022, in Ujjain at the instance of VHP members preventing them from even offering Darshan to Lord Mahakaleshwar, is a sad reminder of the times we are living in.

    Rule of Law is under threat. If that breaks down and it is likely to, Democracy will perish. On Constitution Day, November 26, 2022, while acknowledging the 75 th Year of Independence and celebration of “ Amrit Mahotsav” you had profoundly said, “I respectfully bow down to Babasaheb Ambedkar and all the members of the Constituent Assembly as well as the makers of the Constitution, who had dreamt of a modern India… I seek this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of them on behalf of the country.” But how did Babasaheb envision India in the 1940s?

    On December 17, 1946, Babasaheb forewarned in the context of the dispute between the Congress and the Muslim League, “…Sir, I have been hearing from certain members of the Constituent Assembly that they are prepared to go to war. I have no hesitation and I do want to place before this House in the clearest terms possible that if war comes in this country and if that war has any relation to the issue with which we are confronted today, it will not be a war on the British. It will be a war on the Muslims.” He then quoted Burke who had said “First, Sir, permit me to observe, that use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment, but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again, and a nation is not governed which is perpetual to be conquered. …If you do not succeed, you are without resource for, conciliation failing, force remains; but, force failing, no further hope of reconciliation is left.”

    Dr. Ambedkar was a worried man. So, while introducing the Draft Constitution prepared by the drafting committee, he gave a stern warning on November 4, 1948, with these words “To diehards who have developed a kind of fanaticism against minority protection I would like to say two things. One is that minorities are an explosive force that, if it erupts, can blow up the whole fabric of the State. The history of Europe bears ample and appalling testimony to this fact. The other is that the minorities in India have agreed to place their existence in the hands of the majority. …It is for the majority to realize its duty not to discriminate against minorities. Whether the minorities will continue or will vanish must depend upon this habit of the majority. The moment the majority loses the habit of discriminating against the minority, the minorities can have no ground to exist. They will vanish.”

    None other than Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel headed the Minority and the Fundamental Rights committees during drafting of the Constitution. The minority committee unanimously agreed to provide safeguards to the minorities and the Fundamental Rights committee recognised them as Fundamental Rights. Sardar, on 25 th May 1949 while introducing the minority report said, “We on our part, taking this responsibility of laying the foundations of a free India which shall be and should be our endeavour both of the majority—largely of the majority—and also of the minority community, have to rise to the situation that is demanded from all of us, and create an atmosphere in which the sooner these classifications disappear the better.”

    Seventy-Five years of Independence’s situation remains the same and Sardar’s words are completely lost in the din. Hinduism is under no threat from any religion. Maharishi Aurobindo describes our religion thus; “the master idea that has governed the life, the culture, the social ideals of the Indian People have been seeking of men for his true spiritual self and the use of life as a frame and as means for that discovery and man’s ascent from the ignorant natural into the spiritual existence” this is our religion.

    Constitutional framers created India as a secular State as Debates reflect. Shri H.V Kamath said on December 6, 1948, “After all, the State represents all the people, who live within its territories, and, therefore, it cannot afford to identify itself with the religion of any particular section of the population.”

    Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi reiterated, “After all, the State does not interfere with it. Religion will be there. It is a personal affair and the State as such does not side with one religion or another. It tolerates all religions. …It is very necessary that we should show tolerance.”

    Shri T.T Krishnamachari even said, “I know as a person who has studied for about fourteen years in Christian institutions that no attempt had been made to convert me from my own faith and to practice Christianity. … The fact that many people in this country have embraced Christianity is due partly to the status that it gave to them. Why should we forget that particular fact? An untouchable who became a Christian became equal in every matter along with the high-caste Hindu…” That is how was born Article 25 protecting freedom to practice but to propagate one own religion. Propagation need not be criminalised.

    We seriously need a special Law like the Hate Crime Prevention Act enacted in the United States in 2009 to deal with the degenerating situation. One Mark Anthony Stroman was executed in July 2011 for having killed a Gujarati, Vasudev Patel in Dallas, Texas in a hate crime following the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York. His last words were “the lord Jesus Christ be with me, I am at peace, hate is going on in this world and it has to stop. One Second of hate will cause a lifetime of pain...” U.S. Court showed no mercy to this white supremacist for the hate crime murder, despite prayer by a Bangladeshi Raisuddin Bhuiyan who supported his appeal for clemency. All appeals failed including before the Supreme Court. Millions of Indians live abroad, be it in West Asia, Africa, Europe, or the United States. They are part of the mainstream of societies in those countries. Georgia in the United States even passed a law against Hindu phobia recently. We need to learn from these examples.

    Sir, one can only hope, that, not just as the Prime Minister but as the tallest leader of the country and known internationally, you will follow what Swami Vivekananda had said, “Awake, Arise and stop not till the goal is reached”


    Dushyant Dave,

    (Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India)

    This article was first published here

    Next Story