Letter to the Prime Minister
Shri Narendra Modiji
Dear Shri Modiji,
You have rightly announced a nationwide lockdown, invoking powers under the National Disaster Management Act and asked the citizens of the country not to stir out of their houses and maintain “social distancing”, which is the only way to fight the scourge of COVID19. The citizens, trusting the intention that underlies your appeal have responded positively all around the country.
You may note that lakhs of poor people’s lives have got disrupted as a result of the lockdown and they are literally starving as their livelihoods are affected. Migrant workers from Kerala, deprived of their marginal employment have started returning to their homes in Odisha etc. only to find that the connecting trains have been cancelled, as soon as they arrived at Chennai. They have nowhere to go now as a result of the lockdown. But still, they are facing these tough times without defiance, as they feel that they too have a responsibility to prevent COVID19 from exploding into a crisis.
I find that, barely a few hours after your national broadcast, the Chief Minister of UP organised an elaborate function at Ayodhya and installed the idol of Sree Rama at Rama Janma Bhoomi in person. The attached picture shows not only the Chief Minister and the priests but also a closely packed crowd in the background. Is it not in total defiance of what your appeal meant to the public at large? Should one law apply to the special citizens of this country and another law for the ordinary ones?
There is a much larger concern that bothers a senior citizens like me.
The CM of UP presides over a population of 25 crores. If he defied the diktats of the country’s Prime Minister, a diktat issued in the interest of 1.3 billion people of the country, what signal would he be sending? If you condone it, what signal will you be sending to the people of the country? With what moral authority can you enforce the lockdown in UP, where, like in the other States, the majority of the people have meagre livelihoods and whose lives have got disrupted as a result of the lockdown?
When people are being apprehended on the streets soon after your announcement across the States for moving beyond the “Lakshman Rekha”, why should those who have organised the Ayodhya function and taken part in it be exempted under the law? Should there be a high level enquiry into this statutory violation?
I am circulating this letter widely for a nationwide debate.
I fully welcome a nationwide lockout but I am unhappy that those in authority should consider themselves above the law.
What Shri Adityanath has done today has certainly sent a negative message to the nation and eroded the public trust in what the leaders say.
E A S Sarma
Former Secretary to GOI