Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s four-day visit to the United Kingdom (UK), a UK organisation named National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU) wrote a letter to PM Modi urging him to take “extraordinary measures” for ensuring justice in rape cases. This letter which was signed by 19 other India-related UK college societies was delivered to the Indian High Commission in London.
The letter dated 14 April expressed horror over two recent rapes in Kathua and Unnao, and demanded immediate proceedings against the accused in the matter. It further “demanded” that PM Modi set an example and prove that the Indian government cares for the well being and dignity of women and children. The letter also accused the Modi government of having a delayed response to these crimes, and called for the PM to take “extraordinary steps to prove that India’s daughters matter”.
The NISAU letter also claimed that in total it had 18 other signatories to its letter.
Since its publication in the media the letter was given publicity by controversial Congress MP Shashi Tharoor:
Nineteen Indian students’ groups in the UK wrote to @PMOIndia asking for details of the measures Govt intends to take to deal w/ horrific crimes against women &girls. They’ll be hoping for a response in his speech on #BharatkiBaatSabkeSaathpic.twitter.com/aN7x34gZ9I
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) April 15, 2018
Now the letter has managed to court controversy after one of its signatories named “Queen Mary Indian Society” has claimed that wasn’t formally consulted regarding certain sections of it. As a result, the society claims to have rejected the letter in its entirety and rejected the notion of it co-writing the same:
We deplore all acts against humanity. However, we were not formally consulted via official correspondence about certain contents of NISAU’s letter to PM Modi. Hence, we reject it entirely in our capacity & as claimed, we don’t accept that we have ‘written’ this letter together. pic.twitter.com/rICxoZz1NR
— QM Indian Society (@qmis_official) April 15, 2018
OpIndia reached out to Queen Mary Indian Society who confirmed the authenticity of the said tweet. They also claimed that NISAU had contacted them and read out the letter. In response, the QM Indian Society recommended several changes to it. NISAU they claim never followed up after this.
The society further claims that the final letter posted by NISAU was “radically different” from what was discussed on that phone call, which also didn’t incorporate the changes suggested. Thus they contacted NISAU to remove their endorsement of the letter.
In further damnation for NISAU, Sweta Raghavan a life scientist who claims to be a former elected student officer in the UK, called it a “self-styled undemocratic outfit falsely claiming to represent Indian students”. She thus explained this letter by NISAU as a “shoddy tactic to gain legitimacy”.
As a former elected student officer in the UK, I find it distasteful that @NISAU_UK, a self-styled undemocratic outfit falsely claiming to represent Indian students, has taken to shoddy tactics in the name of innocent victims to gain legitimacy. @ShashiTharoor ought to knw better https://t.co/doBLegIEdk
— Sweta Raghavan (@raghavansweta) April 16, 2018
If the charges against NISAU are indeed true then it raises the question as to why did Tharoor not carry out sufficient checks before deciding to publicise the letter, which as accused, may have a hidden agenda behind it.