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Preserve and Protect India's Secular, Democratic Polity & Culture

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Hon'ble President of India,

We, the Indian National Congress, along with the people of Goa and every other State in India, write to express our collective anxiety and concern at the rising tide of intolerance and social lawlessness in recent times that is slowly but surely destroying the fabric of our unity. The robust bonds that have held us together as a pluralistic nation for over six decades are becoming increasingly tenuous with each successive assault on our inherent diversity of culture and right to differ and dissent that is enshrined in our Constitution and which has been the hallmark of our democracy.

We had hoped that The Prime Minister was setting the tone of governance in his first post-election speech, when he declared that “to run the country, we need to take everyone with us.”  This may be the right time to look back at the events since that day, that reflect the growing intolerance and confidence of regressive, right wing elements, who are creating an atmosphere of social lawlessness by operating as a writ unto themselves and stoking the flickering embers of fear about the direction we seem to be heading towards.

Today it appears that the very slightest rumour of beef being stored, consumed or sold is reason enough to unleash physical assault, mayhem and even murder. Yet another sign that does not augur well for our democracy is the recent trend of labelling healthy debate and dissent as ‘anti-nationalism’. This is distressingly evident from the tarnishing of our well respected Universities.

It may be noted that especially since the year 2014, with the change of regime at the Centre, the political landscape of this great Country has been witnessing affronts which have threatened the spirit of tolerance that is an inherent feature of our democracy. We have witnessed the calls for the controversial ‘Gharwapsi programme’, open criticism of Mother Teresa, the heinous murders of rationalist Shri. N. Dhabolkar, Shri G. Pansare, Shri M.M. Kalburgi, the  lynchings in Dadri UP,  the Muzaffarnagar riots, the attempt to notify Christmas day i.e 25th December as ‘Good Governance day’ the attempt to celebrate ‘Digital India’ day coinciding with Easter etc. We have also noted with alarm, that the Government through law has not hesitated to dictate what the people of the Country should eat especially vis a vis the beef issue. More recently, the labelling of Jesus Christ as a ‘Demon’ in a text book in Gujarat is conveniently sought to be passed off as an error. We have also witnessed a subtle attempt to undermine an icon of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi the father of the Nation as a ‘Chatur Baniya’.  The vitiated and toxic atmosphere created by these acts of intolerance do not augur well for our democracy. Hence it is imperative that the secular ideals are preserved and protected at all costs if we are to survive as a united Nation.

The politics of pitting majority against minority is unconstitutional. The Indian National Congress has been the torch bearer of secular and inclusive politics and we, along with the people of Goa and all other States in India, seek your kind indulgence into this memorandum with the sincere hope and desire that your Authority will take appropriate action in the solemn and very crucial endeavour of sustaining the essence of secular democratic thought that has been the very foundation upon which our nation has been conceived, created and sustained upon for over six decades.

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