New Delhi: More than 180 students, staff and faculty members from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B) and IIM Ahmedabad (IIM-A) have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to “break his silence on pressing issues” of alleged hate speech and vandalism in the country. The letter was signed by 178 people from IIM-B and five from IIM-A, and urges the PM to help establish a more tolerant society, in keeping with the country’s multi-cultural ethos and history.
The letter, of which ThePrint has a copy, noted that hate speeches and calls for violence against communities based on religion and caste identities are unacceptable.
While the letter makes no mention of any specific incident of hate speech or communal targeting, it comes in the wake of a Dharam Sansad held in Uttarakhand last month, where hate speeches were allegedly made against Muslims by Hindu religious leaders. The allegations are being probed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Uttarakhand police.
The letter was drafted by five faculty members from IIM Bangalore, including assistant professor Prateek Raj, associate Professor Deepak Malghan, associate professor Dalhia Mani, associate professor Rajluxmi V. Murthy and associate professor Hema Swaminathan.
“Your silence on the rising intolerance in our country, Honourable Prime Minister, is disheartening to all of us who value the multicultural fabric of our country. Your silence, Honourable Prime Minister, emboldens the hate-filled voices and threatens the unity and integrity of our country,” the letter stated.
Referring to the right to practice all religions with dignity and without fear or shame, as granted by the Constitution, the letter claimed that there is a sense of fear in our country now as places of worship, including churches, are being vandalised. The letter also mention alleged calls to take up arms against Muslims. “All of this is carried out with impunity and without any fear of the due process,” claimed the letter.
The letter by IIM staff, faculty and students also made a larger call for “leaders to safeguard our Constitutional rights”.
‘Ensure safety for every Indian citizen’
It added: “We expect our leaders to ensure safety and security for every Indian citizen. We expect our leaders to motivate us to be human and look beyond differences based on caste, religion, language, and other identities.”
The letter ended with a request to the Prime Minister to stand firm against forces that allegedly seek to divide the Indian society.
“We ask your leadership to turn our minds and hearts, as a nation, away from inciting hatred against our people. We hope and pray that you will lead the country in making the right choices,” urged the letter.
It added: “We believe that a society can focus on creativity, innovation, and growth, or society can create divisions within itself. We want to build an India that stands as an exemplar of inclusiveness and diversity in the world.”
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)