Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath
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In a strongly-worded letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, 104 former IAS officers urged him to withdraw the controversial anti-conversion ordinance, reported NDTV. The ex-bureaucrats said that the state's new ordinance against religious conversions has turned the state into “the epicentre of politics of hate, division, and bigotry”.

According to the report, the former civil servants, including former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, and former Adviser to the Prime Minister TKA Nair, have demanded that the "illegal ordinance be withdrawn forthwith".

The ex-bureaucrats also said that all politicians of the state, including the Chief Minister, need to “re-educate” themselves about the provisions of the Constitution which he and other lawmakers “have sworn to uphold”, reported NDTV.

The letter further said that the state, once known as the cradle of the Ganga-Jamuna civilisation, “has become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division, and bigotry, and institutions of governance are now steeped in communal poison."

The letter comes against the backdrop of a series of cases filed by the UP Police under the new ordinance.

“It has become painfully evident that, in recent years, UP state, once known as the cradle of the Ganga-Jamuna civilisation, has become the epicentre of the politics of hate, division, and bigotry and that the institutions of governance are now steeped in communal poison,” the letter read.

"... a series of heinous atrocities committed by your administration against young Indians across Uttar Pradesh... Indians who are simply seeking to live their lives as free citizens of a free country."

The letter also mentioned the Allahabad High Court’s recent order in an interfaith marriage case and said that several courts have ruled unequivocally that choosing one's life partner is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution.

"...various High Courts, including the Allahabad High Court, have ruled unequivocally that choosing one's life partner is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution, the state of UP is blithely undermining that very Constitution," the signatories said.

The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, mainly envisages that no person shall convert, either directly or indirectly from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any person abet, convince or conspire such conversion.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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