Mumbai Feb 5
Over 160 organisations, women and men, across various fields of profession and activism – have written an open letter urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take note of his constitutional duty to protect all citizens, especially in the light of the charged rhetoric that BJP leaders have been employing against anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters.
Drawing attention to the fact that most of the protesters are women and that BJP has gone about campaigning for the Delhi assembly election with speeches that call for violence on women protesters, the signatories have requested Modi for his intervention.
Prominent among the signatories are economist Devaki Jain, DASTKAR chairperson Laila Tyabji, former diplomats Madhu Bhaduri and Navrekha Sharma, historian and filmmaker Uma Chakravarti and former member of the National Commission for Minorities, Zoya Hasan.
The text of the letter says “ We speak to you as women of this country and the women of Delhi – Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Adivasi and Dalit – who are horrified at the atmosphere of violence against women that members of your party have created merely to try and win an election”.
“Union Minister Anurag Thakur, says “Desh Ke Gaddaronko” and exhorts a crowd to yell “Goli Maaron Saalon Ko”. Please remember that in this case the ‘saalon’ is lakhs of peacefully protesting women, sitting in parks and maidans across the city, with young children on their laps”.
“Another campaigner for your party, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Ajay Singh Bisht aka ‘Yogi Adityanath” kicked off his campaign in Delhi by saying ‘Boli se nahi to goli se maanenge”.
“When the Union Home Minister Amit Shah asks people to push the EVM button on February 8 with such force “that protesters feel the current”. Is he wishing to electrocute the women?”
“BJP MP Parvesh Verma, said, “lakhs of people gather there (at Shaheen Bagh). People of Delhi will have to think and take a decision. They’ll enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them.”
“ Is the BJP openly endangering the lives of India’s women and children? This is what history will record and India will not forgive. The nation saw the direct result of this violent atmosphere created by members of your party, which inspired a young man to open fire at “innocent” students in Jamia Millia Islamia on January 30, and another terrorist weaponised by the hate being spread by your party, fired at the women of Shaheen Baug on February 1″.
“Your government may disagree with the reasons for this nation-wide uprising against the NPR-NRC-CAA. But peaceful protest is our constitutional right. Lakhs of Delhi’s women are not just part of this movement, they are leading it. Empowered women are on the front lines. We will not be silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors, when all that they are doing is to fight to protect and preserve the Constitution of our country”.
“Mr Prime Minister, you may belong to BJP, but you are the PM of the country and have a Constitutional obligation to protect the rights of all citizens. When members of your party exhort mobs to use violence and bullets and you remain silent or support them, remember it is you who is responsible”.
“You need to speak out against such targeted violence and hate speech and take immediate action, under all relevant provisions of IPC, against these violence mongering members of your party. You need to fight the Delhi election in a manner that upholds the dignity of our Constitution and ensures the security of India’s women”.
The organisations who have signed the letter to PN include: Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, Pinjra Tod, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression, All India Democratic Women’s Association, All India Progressive Women’s Association, National Federation of Indian Women, All India Queer Association, Centre for Struggling Women Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, Makaam- Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, Aman Biradari, Delhi, Jamia Queer Collective and Karwan-e- Mohabbat.