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Mainstream, VOL LV No 34 New Delhi August 12, 2017

An Open Letter from Veterans of the Armed Forces

Saturday 12 August 2017

To the Prime Minister of India, Chief Ministers of the States, and Lieutenant-Governors of the Union Territories,

We are a group of Veterans of the Indian Armed Forces who 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.

It saddens us to write this letter, but current events in India have compelled us to register our dismay at the divisiveness that is gripping our country. 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 Armed Forces stand for “Unity in Diversity”. Differences in religion, language, caste, culture or any other marker of belonging have not mattered to the cohesion of the Armed Forces, and servicemen of different backgrounds have fought shoulder to shoulder in the defence of our nation, as they continue to do today. Throughout our service, a sense of openness, justice and fair play guided our actions. We are one family. Our heritage is like the multi-coloured quilt that is India, and we cherish this vibrant diversity.

However, 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. 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 antinational and unleashing violence against them while the State looks away.

We can no longer look away. We would be doing a disservice to our country if we do not stand up and speak for the liberal and secular values that our Constitution espouses. Our diversity is our greatest strength. Dissent is not treason; in fact, it is the essence of democracy.

We urge the powers that be at the Centre and in the States to take note of our concerns and urgently act to uphold our Constitution, both in letter and in spirit.

Signatories (in alphabetical order of last name)

1. Lt Col E.N. Ambre

2. Brig V.K.S. Antony

3. Maj M.K. Apte

4. Col C.T. Arasu

5. Lt Col Israr Asghar

6. Cdr C.R. Babu

7. Lt Cdr P.S Bal

8. Lt Cdr Rakeh Bali

9. Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee

10. Lt Gen C.A. Barretto

11. Brig Noel Barretto

12. Col T.S. Bedi

13. Surg Cdr P. Bellubi

14. Petty Off Gajanan Bhat IN

15. Cdr P.G. Bhat

16. Gp Capt A.V. Bhagwat

17. Col V. Bopiah

18. Maj Gen P.R. Bose

19. Vice Adm A. Britto

20. Col RT Chacko

21. Lt Col M. Chandrasekhar

22. Cdre R. Clarke

23. Col K.S. Choudhry

24. Brig T.P.S. Chowdhury

25. Brig Dileep Deore

26. Col Samuel Dhar

27. Lt Gen F.T. Dias

28. Lt Col A.P. Durai

29. Gp Capt M.P. Elangovan

30. Maj Gen Shyamal Ghosh

31. Col V. Nanda Gopal

32. Cdre E.C. Govindan

33. Col V. Govindarajan

34. Col R.P. Grover

35. Cdre P.C. Gulati

36. Cdr M. Hari

37. Lt Col Muzaffar Hasan

38. Brig Prem Hejmadi

39. A.V.M. Kapil Kak

40. Col A.T. Kalghatgi

41. Maj Gen M.P.S. Kandal

42. Col M.S. Kapoor

43. Maj Gen T.K. Kaul

44. Lt Col P.B. Keskar

45. Lt Col V. Kharkar

46. Wg Cdr R. Khosla

47. Brig Anil Malhotra

48. Col Arun Malhotra

49. Lt Col R.C. Malhotra

50. Brig G.K. Malik

51. Cdre G. Menezes

52. Wg Cdr S.N. Metrani

53. Maj G.N. Misra

54. AVM R.P. Misra

55. Col Biman Mistry

56. Col R.B. Mistry

57. Col A.K. Mitra

58. Col Pradip Mitra

59. Maj Gen H. Mukherji

60. Maj Gen R.P.R.C. Naidu

61. Col Pavan Nair

62. Lt Col V.K. Nair

63. Col R.L.V. Nath

64. Cdr M. Nirmal

65. Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi

66. Rear Adm Alan O’Leary

67. Air Cdre Tanpat Pannu

68. Lt Col Niraj Pant

69. Col R.C. Patial

70. Cdr Hector Poppen

71. Capt Subbarao Prabhala IN

72. Brig Ranjit Prasad

73. Brig V.H.M. Prasad

74. Wg Cdr K.V. Raghuram

75. Brig R.S. Rajan

76. Col S.S. Rajan

77. Cdr S.M. Rajeshwar

78. Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar

79. Col T.N. Raman

80. Admiral L. Ramdas

81. Vice Admiral I.C. Rao

82. Col T.K. Ravindranath

83. Air Marshal D.S. Sabhikhi

84. Lt Col Nagaraj Sastry

85. Lt Gen K.M. Seth

86. Col P.D. Shah

87. Brig Baqir Shameem

88. Lt Gen Y.N. Sharma

89. Lt Col H.D. Shirmane

90. Vice Admiral M.R. Schunker

91. Cdr M.A. Somana

92. Brig Amardeep Singh

93. Gp Capt D.R. Singh

94. Brig Joginder Singh

95. Brig Mastinder Singh

96. Cdr Rajiv Singh

97. Col Salam K. Singh

98. Col S. Srikantha

99. Brig M. Sudandiram

100. Flt Lt R. Suresh

101. Sgt M.N. Subramani

102. Lt Cdr P. Subramanyam

103. Maj Gen L. Tahliani

104. Cdr S.P. Taneja

105. Cdr T.P. Tharian

106. Lt Col J.K. Thomas

107. Cdr M. Thomas

108. Cdr N. Tripathy

109. Air Marshal N.V. Tyagi

110. Capt A.K. Varma

111. Wg Cdr B.J. Vaz

112. Maj Rajah Velu

113. Lt Col R. Venugopal

114. Maj Gen S.G. Vombatkere

July 30, 2017

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