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Former babus and how they help Congress: Simple example of the ‘ecosystem’ PM Modi talked about

The tussle between the government and serving bureaucrats is not something unique to this government. It happens all across the world. However, the retired Congress loyalists are now sharpening their knives to repay the Congress' debt.

“Bureaucracies force us to practice nonsense. And if you rehearse nonsense, you may one day find yourself the victim of it.”  ― Laurence Gonzales, Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things

Bureaucrats are smart people. They work hard to get where they are. They wield unimaginable power. They are responsible for ensuring that the schemes and policies of the government reach the last man in the queue.

While majority bureaucrats who work hard would do their job just the same under any government, several former bureaucrats still remember the favours doled out by the Congress government.

Congress, when in power, treated the bureaucrat like royalty. They had been in power for decades and knew the tricks of the trade. They still do. They earned loyal bureaucrats who were given plum posts, unbridled power to do whatever it is that they want and more importantly, influence.

Either way, the tussle between the government and serving bureaucrats is not something unique to this government. It happens all across the world. However, the retired Congress loyalists are now sharpening their knives to repay the Congress’ debt.

The letter demanding the resignation of Yogi Adityanath

Earlier, news emerged that 83 retired IAS officers had penned an open letter demanding the resignation of Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. They wrote this letter after the Bulandshahr violence that claimed the life of one police officer, Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh. As of now, nobody knows who killed Singh. An SIT is investigating the death and hasn’t made their conclusions yet. Our ground report had revealed that the family of the 17-year-old boy who was killed believed that her son had nothing to do with the stone pelting mob angered by the presence of cow carcass. He had gone to drop a friend to a nearby bus stop when a bullet fired by Inspector Subodh Singh killed him. The mob responded and eventually, it claimed the life of Singh as well.

However, the former bureaucrats have written that Yogi Adityanath must resign “for his failure to abide by the constitution to which he has sworn his allegiance”. According to the IAS officers, UP and specifically, Bulandshahr is an example of what “hate politics” does.

They write, “The Chief Minister of the state acts as a high priest of the agenda of bigotry and majoritarian supremacy – an agenda which now seems to take precedence over everything else”. They believe that cow protection is being used to isolate the Muslim community (they don’t once mention the cow carcass left deliberately to incite hate) and that they think Yogi Adityanath has mainstreamed thuggery which is used to teach anyone a lesson who “dares to treat minorities equally” and also, to intimidate Muslims.

In a rather long-winded letter that throws around the same platitudes that we have heard from Congress and their lackey liberals, they demand that Yogi Adityanath resigns, that the HC takes suo moto cognisance and orders a court-monitored probe and most importantly, “Work towards a citizen-led national campaign against the politics of hate and violence – in particular, the structural violence directed against Muslims, Adivasis, Dalits and women – violence which finds sustenance in the structures of political power”.

This is, of course, completely empty rhetoric. The ones in opposition, especially Congress and self-proclaimed “liberals” like to dream up of instances of hate campaigns because it serves a political goal of demonising the party in power and the ideology that it coyly says it follows.

Intriguingly, this set of babus did not speak a work when thousands of police officers were martyred in the line of duty during the reign of Akhilesh Yadav. For example, they have written no letter to the Samajwadi Party supremos to provide answers for the 1102 police officers that died in the line of duty between September 2003 and August 2012. Between September 2013 and August 2014, 126 police officers perished. Between September 2014 and August 2015, 107 lost their lives. Between September 2015 and August 2016, 116 died. Between September 2016 and August 2017, 76 martyred and between September 2017 and August 2018, the count stood at 67.

This group of babus “came together” to “voice their concerns” in June 2017. Since then, almost 140 police officers have perished in the line of duty in Uttar Pradesh (till August 2018). Before that, in the SP reign, several hundred. These babus, however, remembered their fallen brethren only now. Only in December 2018. Makes one wonder, certainly?

This agenda of “hate against minorities” has been going on since the very beginning of PM Modi’s tenure. Interestingly, in July 2017 itself, right around when this group of people came together to air their long asleep conscience, Hindustan Times had introduced their “Hate Tracker” which was “a national database on crimes in the name of religion, caste, race”. They were biased and left out the hate crimes which did not suit the narrative of “majoritarianism attacking minorities” narrative. In fact, they left our 13 out of 15 listed Muslim on Dalit attacks from their tracker. In July 2017 itself, when this group of babus and the HT Hate Tracker started talking about hate crimes, in Bareilly of Uttar Pradesh, Muslims attacked kaanwariyas for passing through “their area”. However, not a word was spoken by either of them.

There were several such communally hateful crimes in July itself, in Uttar Pradesh that were completely missed by these babus who came together in July 2017. Perhaps it missed their attention because the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh was “secular” Akhilesh Yadav just a few weeks before this and not the bhagwa clad Yogi. It would appear too motivated to speak up immediately after the SP reign had ended?

These babus spoke about cow-related violence increasing because of Yogi Adityanath’s “hateful majoritarianism”, however, that narrative doesn’t really hold up when they choose to talk about Bulandshahr specifically and fail to mention the two Hindu Sadhus who opposed cow-slaughter were brutally murdered. The ones arrested admitted that they murdered the Sadhus inside the temple premises because they opposed cow-slaughter. Those arrested were Salman, Nadeem, Sehzaad, Majnu alias Nazim and Jabbar.

A website called IndiaSpend and its Factchecker website have also indulged in the same chicanery. They relied only on English media for their “research” on cow-related violence and conveniently left our vernacular media reports. They refused to include most cow-related violence where Hindus were killed by smugglers. In fact, this “factchecker” is so “accurate” that they found NO cow-related crimes in 2010 and 2011, incidentally, when there was a Congress government at the centre.

The fact is that the concocted narrative of “church attacks” to India being “lynchistan” plays a serious part in politics and these self-righteous propaganda tools are just that, tools to meet a political end.

Non-partisan, ‘independent’ group?

However, these bureaucrats who have written this letter claim to be completely non-partisan and independent. And when ex IAS officers write something, all those middle-class families who dream of their children passing the UPSC exam and becoming a babu, stand up and take note. Because a bunch of ex-IAS officers had written a letter that had deep political ramifications, full of platitudes that sound like the script was written by Congress or The Wire, we decided to look a little further.

This list of 86 babus includes some rather interesting names. While going through the entire list would be pointless, there are certainly indications that this group is not independent and certainly, not non-partisan.

One of the first names that stand up in the list of these “non-partisan” group of ex-babus is Harsh Mander. Mander was a bureaucrat from the state of Madhya Pradesh. Interestingly, he was also a part of Sonia Gandhi’s infamous NAC and was instrumental in drafting the Communal Violence Bill.

In our previous article, we found that:

Harsh Mander is the director of the Center for Equity Studies. In his article on the political marginalization of Muslims which was shared by current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, Mander writes, “Muslims are today’s castaways, political orphans with no home, for virtually every political party. This despite India being home to a tenth of the world’s Muslims, around 180 million people, making it the largest Muslim country after Indonesia and Pakistan. There has never been a harder time to be a Muslim in India, not since the stormy months that followed India’s Partition.”

Mander is also a known Ishrat apologist, the female LeT operative who was killed an encounter along with three others by Crime Branch Officials in Gujarat. As per DeshGujarat, Mander’s NGO has received a significant amount of financial contribution from foreign organizations.

If one recalls, RVS Mani, another babu who worked under the Congress regime had revealed that he was being coerced to implicate Narendra Modi in the Ishrat Jahan case. When he refused, Kamal Nath had allegedly retorted to him that “others are even willing to drink Rahul Gandhi’s urine”.

Then it has Jawahar Sircar is an IAS (Retd.). He was the Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & former CEO, Prasar Bharati who rants against “bhakts” and has a pathological hatred for Modi even when someone who is not a leftist post a harmless picture celebrating fatherhood.

Another luminary in the list is Shyam Saran who, along with his Pakistan counterpart had wanted to demilitarise Siachen almost giving it away to Pakistan. In fact, Saran was not too happy when that didn’t happen. 

With this indicative list of luminaries and several more in the list who we would not delve into right now, it is evident that there is no part of this endeavour which is apolitical or independent. That they oppose Modi’s policies and preferred the lackadaisical Congress is a given and if so, one wonders how they can be touted as a ‘non-partisan’ bunch by the media.

Serial letter-writers

The same group of “independent” “non-partisan” group of babus have launched a crusade against the Modi government time and again. Yet, for some extremely odd reason, they are touted as a bunch of reputed IAS officers who just came together as a calling of their conscience with no political overtones.

Action against Amit Shah for Sabarimala statement

The same group of ex IAS officers, with some officers missing, had penned a letter demanding that action is taken against Amit Shah for his statement on Sabarimala. They sought to invoke action from the Election Commission, Supreme Court, the Prime Minister and the President. Amit Shah, in his Kannur speech, had said that the Supreme Court should have passed an implementable order and that the Communist government of Kerala will get a befitting response, electorally, for their excesses on devotees. They had gone on a tirade calling it unconstitutional and demanded action.

It is to be remembered that the Communist government did indeed heap excesses on the Sabarimala devotees and even gave police protection to a Hindu hating “activist” to desecrate the shrine. In fact, the SC order was widely criticised by many because it failed to differentiate between Abrahamic faiths and the traditions of one Hindu shrine among the crores of deities. State Congress had also, in fact, supported the right of the devotees to preserve their tradition. But the babus wrote a letter to invoke action against Amit Shah. Non-partisan?

Letter to CAG regarding demonetisation and Rafale

Again, the same set of people who came together in June 2017 penned a letter to the CAG saying that the delay in tabling report regarding demonetisation and the Rafale deal is being seen as an attempt to not “embarrass” the NDA government till next year’s general election. This letter was written in November 2018.

It is to be noted here that the Supreme Court subsequently gave a clean chit to the Rafale deal. The Congress cacophony alleging “scam” in Rafale despite analysts, experts and even the Air Force assuring that there has been no “scam”. The French government, the Indian government, Dassault, and their chief had also said the same thing.

In fact, one of the serial letter-writers, ex babu EAS Sarma had penned a separate letter on DailyO about demonetisation and in that letter, he had linked another open letter that he had written.

For a bunch of babus to concern themselves with political rhetoric around demonetisation and Rafale clearly points towards a larger political agenda.

Letter to CJI for a probe in Judge Loya case

Ex-Babus had also written a letter to the Chief Justice of India demanding probe into Judge Loya case. They wrote, “We, the undersigned retired civil servants, would like to place on record our support for the request made by Admiral (Retd.) L.Ramdas to institute a “high-level judicial inquiry” into this matter and urge you to take appropriate action for all the reasons mentioned in his representation”.

It is pertinent to remember here that Judge Loya’s sister had alleged foul play and claimed a media hit-job. His son had, with folded hands, asked the media to leave their family alone since there was no foul play in his father’s death. The Supreme Court itself had said that they can’t take a case seriously which is based on media articles. Indira Jaisingh had to apologise to the court for her outlandish remarks in the case and the “Judicial whistleblowers” used by Congress had a severely tainted past.

Letter defending Urban Naxals

In August 2018, several locations connected with Urban Naxals had been raided. They were alleged to have been involved in inciting the Koregaon-Bhima violence and also, in a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Several material evidence was recovered by the Maharashtra police including email correspondence and startling details of these elements colluding with CPI Maoist cadre to orchestrate attacks on security personnel and even hatching a plot to eliminate the PM. All of them are now in custody.

In connection with this case, the same group of “independent” ex-babus had penned a letter saying that the raiding and arrest of these “activists” was an onslaught on “dissent”.

They had written:

We feel compelled to write an open letter once again – in what we perceive as the most brazen display yet of coercive authority by the State.

The arrests of Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and Arun Ferreira and the raids on the residences of Stan Swamy, Kranti Tekula, Naseem and Anand Teltumbde, all of whom have been been in the forefront of the struggle for justice for Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims, members of the working class and women and children (a struggle which has been a continuing one irrespective of which government has been in power) have been the trigger. They have always used lawful and democratic means in their efforts, and this series of arrests shows how willful and arbitrary the State is to intimidate and silence any signs of dissent and democratic resistance.

Earlier Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut, Surendra Gadling and Sudhir Dhawale were also arrested under the same charges for inciting violence in the context of Bhima Koregaon, and the same incident.

They go on to even make an excuse and hold in high regard, Elgaar Parishad.

The excuse for such action hinges on a fabricated tale of a “terror” plot against a high functionary in which these allegedly “urban Naxals” play a role. Incidents quoted refer to the Elgar Parishad held earlier in the year in Pune, of which the highly respected Justice P.B. Sawant (former Supreme Court judge and Chairman of the Press Council) was a key organiser.

it is worthy to note here that even Kolse Patil, a retired judge who spoke extensively on “Hindu Terror” was an organiser of Elgar Parishad. He was also recently accused of sexual harassment. In fact, surrendered Maoist had exclusively told OpIndia that he recognised these “activists” and had even met Arun Ferreira who was a member of the Maoist cadre.

Letter to President about “dangers to the constitution” and “intolerance”

In March 2016, this group of “non-partisan” ex IAS officers had written a letter to the President of India to whine about the “growing intolerance” in the country and the dangers to the constitution. Of course, they didn’t care about the dangers to the constitution when Congress actually used it for the political fascism, however, their concern peaked when Kanhaiya Kumar was “targeted”.

The wrote:

There is a systematic attempt to silence dissent using the outmoded law of sedition against young idealists like Kanhaiya Kumar and his colleagues, who have given India a wake-up call to address poverty and all forms of exploitation.

They also wrote, defending the JNU “bharat tere tukde honge” incident:

Law and order agencies like the Delhi police used doctored videos in a blatantly partisan manner against JNU students while an MLA and certain lawyers – who were widely caught on camera beating up Kanhaiya and journalists – were treated with kid gloves. Even the team of senior lawyers nominated by the Supreme Court to monitor the situation reported the atmosphere of threat and intimidation.

It is worthy to note that Delhi Police had indicted Umar Khalid in the JNU sedition case. It is also noteworthy that the raw footage given by TV channels was found to be authentic by forensic labs in the Kanhaiya Kumar sedition row.

Another letter opposing the ban on illegal slaughterhouses

This letter referred to Prime Minister Modi’s speech in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections.

They had written:

”In Uttar Pradesh, in the run-up to the elections, an odious and frankly communal comparison was made between the relative number of burial grounds and cremation grounds. The question was also asked as to whether electricity was being supplied equally to different communities during their religious festivals. All this without any basis in fact or evidence. The banning of slaughter-houses targets the minorities and affects their livelihoods as well”.

The fallacious arguments in this one paragraph itself point towards the severe political bias of these ex IAS officers.

First, the context itself was incorrect. While Modi stressed on both Hindus and Muslims getting a fair deal, media projected it as if Modi had spoken only about discrimination faced by Hindus. We had exposed this spin here.

The religious discrimination under the Akhilesh government was a fact which was ignored by media and these babus. since 2012 the UP government has allocated Rs 1300 crores for Kabristans. As compared to that, they spent 627 crores on revamping the Smashans. Also interestingly the amount granted for Kabristans rose by 100% as compared to 13.5% for Smashans in 2016-17 that is during the election year hence many might wonder if the UP government was just adding to its long history of minority appeasement.

I had written at the time about the misplaced outrage against the banning of illegal slaughterhouses. It is intriguing that a bunch of babus who spent their lives upholding the law would express outrage over ‘banning’ something illegal. While the dangers of letting illegal slaughterhouses operate are well known, the babus chose to communalise the step simply to pander to their political narrative.

Outraged over MJ Akbar

The same set of babus had written a letter to the President, no less, expressing their outrage over the apparent “lack of action” against MJ Akbar after #MeToo allegations surfaced against him. They had written this letter hours before MJ Akbar resigned. Surprisingly, these babus have not expressed any outrage against the several others accused of sexual misconduct. Only Akbar.

Kathua and Unnao rape cases

The same set of IAS babus had written a letter to the Prime Minister regarding the heinous Kathua and Unnao rape cases. They asserted that India has failed as a nation. They had shamelessly given a political colour to the rapes and said that the Kathua rape was a result of majoritarianism. Their agenda was evident when they expressed no such outrage at the numerous church sex crimes, the ones that happen in Madrasas or even the fact that some of the people who “fought” for justice in the Kathua case were later themselves accused of sexual misconduct.

Another letter about “intolerance”

In January 2018, another letter surfaced written by the same group where they wrote to the Prime Minister about rising intolerance.

The exact same selective quoting of incidents of cow-related violence coupled with them dismissing cases of Love Jihad that the Kerala court once had poses an imminent threat.


Even with the clear political inclinations and motivations of this group of ex IAS officers writing letters constantly, the media seems to be oblivious, or at least, pretends to be oblivious.

Their letters mostly always start with the standard, “We are a group of retired civil servants from the All India and Central Services who, having spent long years in the service of the Constitution of India, have come together to express ourselves on issues of governance and public policy that have a bearing on constitutional principles, conduct and ethics. Since June 2017, when we first came together, we have spoken out on several occasions when we felt that constitutional values were under threat and that it was incumbent on us to voice our concerns publicly. As a group we have no affiliations with any political party nor do we subscribe to any ideology other than the values enshrined in the Constitution”. 

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the media repeatedly touts these letters with the same disclaimer without so much as connecting the dots and informing people of their clear political bias.

In fact, the usual suspects go a step further to hail them as respected babus who are now just do-gooders following their conscience.

Nidhi Razdan of NDTV, for example, asserts that these men and women don’t favour any political party. That is clearly untrue and the media takes pride in deliberately misleading the people of this country.

Sonia Singh of NDTV, whose husband is a Congress leader also peddled the same narrative.

This entire narrative that is co-ordinated helps the Congress party. For retired IAS officers to help a political party is no sin. It is no sin to support one either. However, for the media and this set of babus to not inform the public of their real intention is dubious and reaks of a political agenda.

Recently, the Prime Minister spoke of the ‘Congress ecosystem’. Every day, we catch a glimpse of that ecosystem in play. The fact remains that the government in power is different from the establishment that rules the country. While BJP might be in power today, the Congress and its deeply entrenched ecosystem still know how to stealthily form the narrative, neatly packaged as neutral agenda.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Nupur J Sharma
Nupur J Sharma
Editor-in-Chief, OpIndia.

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