Breakdown of governance in UP: Ex-civil servants write open letter
A group of former civil servants, called the Constitutional Conduct Group, has written an open letter expressing their concern over the "complete breakdown of governance" and "blatant violation of rule of law" in Uttar Pradesh. The letter alleged that branches of administration, such as executive and police, have "collapsed" in the state which, if unchecked, may lead to the "decay and destruction of democracy."
'Detention, criminal charges used to suppress dissent'
The letter stated that the Yogi Adityanath-led government in UP has blatantly used detention, criminal charges, and recovery of damages to public and private property as an instrument to suppress dissent. The letter—signed by over 80 former bureaucrats and endorsed by more than 200 eminent citizens—highlighted how the UP government used 'armory repression' against those who protested against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
'Stop arbitrary arrests; discontinue arbitrary recovery law'
The group mentioned the detention of journalist Siddique Kappan as an example of arbitrary arrests made by the UP Police and demanded that such attacks on dissent need to be stopped. "Recoveries for alleged damage to property under an "arbitrary" law be discontinued," they said.
Extrajudicial killings: Dalits, Muslims, OBCs mostly targeted
Highlighting police data and news reports, the letter said, "The encounter campaign led by Adityanath crosses new lines because data shows that most of those killed in these encounters are either petty criminals or innocents." The letter went on to add that most of those who are killed in encounters are "predominantly Muslims, Dalits, and other backward castes."
'UP government's bias against Muslims may lead to polarization'
The letter further highlighted how under the garb of anti-conversion law, the police is filing arbitrary cases against Muslim men who have married or are in relationships with Hindu women. Citing various examples of bias of the UP government against Muslims, the letter said, "Keeping in mind the forthcoming elections, we apprehend that such actions...if not controlled, may cause communal polarization and disturbances."
Letter criticized UP's mismanagement of COVID-19
The letter criticized the UP government over the state's crumbling healthcare system, deaths due to oxygen shortage, and how bodies were found floating in the river Ganges. "The world bore witness to the catastrophe that the people of UP had to endure owing to the failure of the government to act in time," it said, alleging that COVID-19 deaths were massively under-reported.
Stop 'shoot the messenger' tendency, says letter
The letter also highlighted how the UP government denied their shortcomings while handling the second wave of COVID-19 and instead threatened those who spoke about the same for "spreading misinformation." "The invidious tendency to 'shoot the messenger' must stop," it said, adding that the UP government must stop harassing those who expose inadequacies in the healthcare system.