PressStatement: CCG

Constitutional Conduct Group’s (CCG) Open Statement In Support Of Farmers

5 February 2021

1. We are a group of former civil servants of the All India and Central Services who have worked with the Central and State Governments in the course of our careers. As a group, we have no affiliation with any political party but believe in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India. We, the Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), would like to reassert and reiterate our support for the farmers who are agitating for repeal of the three farm laws. We are particularly concerned about the developments that took place on 26 January 2021, Republic Day, the efforts to lay the blame on the farmers for the disruption of law and order on that day and the events that have followed.

2.We note the following with grave concern:

2.1 The approach of the Government of India (GoI) towards the farmers’ protest has been an adversarial and confrontationist one from the very beginning, treating the apolitical farmers like an irresponsible opposition to be derided, demonised and defeated. The repeated, albeit unsuccessful, attempts to polarise the agitation along regional, communal and other lines are also reprehensible. Such an approach can never lead to a solution.

2.2Regarding the incidents that happened on Republic Day:

i) The GoI has still not responded to the farmers’ assertion that the Delhi Police erected barricades on the route agreed upon by both the farmers and the Delhi Police for the tractor rally due to which a few of the farmers were forced to take another route.

ii)When one section of farmers hoisted their flag below the National Flag at the Red Fort, why were the police doing literally nothing to prevent this occurrence? What action has the GoI initiated against those in the Delhi Police, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Defence for dereliction of duty?

iii) Why is it that this particular action by a few unruly elements was shown repeatedly by the government controlled and other media? What happened in the remaining places? Why was the peaceful tractor parade in other places, with citizens welcoming the farmers with flowers and food, not shown?

2.3 Post Republic Day:

i) How is it that in Singhu, where there were barricades clearly dividing the farmers sitting in demonstration, a few hooligans were able to break the barricades and attack the farmers in the presence of police? Why did the police intervene much after the attack took place? We have seen TV visuals where one unruly person had even snatched a lathi from a policeman and attacked one of the farmers.

ii) Why is it that essential services to the agitating farmers such as water, electricity and the internet have been blocked, putting the thousands of people gathered there to unspeakable difficulties?

iii) Why have barricades with concrete barriers, concertina wire, nails and spikes been raised on the borders of Delhi to prevent the agitating farmers from entering? Such barricades are not even erected on the borders of India with its neighbouring countries! Are the agitating farmers being seen as enemies of the country?

3.1 Why are sedition charges made out against certain journalists and a Member of Parliament of an opposition party on flimsy grounds, solely for certain tweets posted by them when the factual position was not clear? The registration of the same case with very similar First Information Reports in various states run by the BJP smacks of vindictiveness and seems to be aimed at muzzling legitimate, democratic protests against the policies of the GoI.

3.2 Holding or presenting a view against the GoI or reporting different versions given by different people about an incident can, under no law, be held as an act against the nation. It bears repetition to say that a protest against a policy or action of the Government is not an act of sedition against the nation.

3.3 Withdrawal of cases against the farmers and tweeters,including the journalists, withdrawal of cases against all except miscreants who engaged in unlawful activities and stopping the vicious and sickening propaganda of calling the farmers Khalistanis are the minimum requirement for a conducive atmosphere for resumption of talks.

4. If the GoI is indeed interested in an amicable solution, instead of proposing half-hearted steps such as putting the laws on hold for eighteen months, it can withdraw the three lawsand think of other possible solutions, given the basic Constitutional position that the subject of agriculture is in the States’ list in the Constitution of India.

5.Wein the CCG have, on 11 December 2020, issued a statement supporting the stand of the farmers. All that has happened since has made us feel even more strongly that great injustice has been done and continues to be done to the farmers. Therefore, we urge the GoI to take remedial action on an issue which has caused so much turmoil in the country over the past several months.

6. We reassert and reiterate our support to the agitating farmers while expecting the GoI to provide a healing touch and to solve the issue to the satisfaction of the stake holders. SATYAMEVA JAYATE

(75 signatories below)

1. Anita Agnihotri IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI
2. S.P. Ambrose IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI
3. Anand Arni R&AW (Retd.)Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
4. G. Balachandhran IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
5. Vappala Balachandran IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
6. Gopalan Balagopal IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
7.Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
8. T.K. Banerji IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
9. Sharad Behar IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
10. Aurobindo Behera IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Odisha
11. Madhu Bhaduri IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Portugal
12.Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
13. Kalyani Chaudhuri IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
14. Gurjit Singh Cheema IAS (Retd.) Former FinancialCommissioner (Revenue), Govt. of Punjab
15. Anna Dani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
16. P.R. DasguptaIAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
17. M.G. Devasahayam IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
18.Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Sweden
19. A.S. DulatIPS (Retd.)Former OSD on Kashmir, Prime Minister’s Office, GoI
20. K.P. Fabian IFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Italy
21. Gourisankar Ghosh IAS (Retd.) Former Mission Director, National Drinking Water Mission, GoI
22. Suresh K. Goel IFS (Retd.) Former Director General, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, GoI
23. S.K. Guha IAS (Retd.) Former Joint Secretary, Department of Women & Child Development, GoI
24. H.S. Gujral IFoS (Retd.) Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt. of Punjab
25. Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
26. Ravi Vira Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
27. Wajahat Habibullah IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, GoI and Chief Information Commissioner
28. Deepa Hari IRS (Resigned)
29. Sajjad Hassan IAS (Retd.) Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur
30. Najeeb JungIAS (Retd.) Former Lieutenant Governor, Delhi
31. Ish Kumar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP (Vigilance & Enforcement), Govt. of Telangana and former Special Rapporteur, National Human Rights Commission
32. P.K. Lahiri IAS (Retd. )Former ED, Asian Development Bank & Former Revenue Secretary, GoI
33. Subodh LalI PoS (Resigned) Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI
34. Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.) Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
35. Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
36. Sonalini Mirchandani IFS (Resigned)GoI
37. Sunil Mitra IAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
38. Avinash MohananeyIPS (Retd.)Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Sikkim
39. Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.)Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
40. P. Joy Oommen IAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Chhattisgarh
41. Amitabha Pande IAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
42. Alok Perti IAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
43. R. PoornalingamIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, GoI
44. Rajesh PrasadIFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to the Netherlands
45. T.R. Raghunandan IAS (Retd.)Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI
46. V.P. RajaIAS (Retd.)Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
47. C. Babu RajeevIAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, GoI
48. K. Sujatha RaoIAS (Retd.)Former Health Secretary, GoI
49. Satwant Reddy IAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, GoI
50. Vijaya Latha ReddyIFS (Retd.)Former Deputy National Security Adviser, GoI
51. Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.)Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania
52. Aruna Roy IAS (Resigned)
53. Manabendra N. Roy IAS (Retd.)Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
54. A.K. Samanta IPS (Retd.)Former Director General of Police (Intelligence), Govt. of West Bengal
55. Deepak Sanan IAS (Retd.)Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
56. G. SankaranI C&CES (Retd.)Former President, Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal
57. N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
58. Ardhendu Sen IAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
59. Abhijit Sengupta IAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
60. Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Japan
61. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFoS (Retd.)Former MD, State Forest Development Corporation, Govt. of Gujarat
62. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFS (Retd.)Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
63. Navrekha Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Indonesia
64. Raju Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
65. Hardial Singh IAS (Retd.) Former Presiding Officer, Schools and Colleges Tribunal (Chief Secretary rank), Govt. of Punjab
66. Ramesh Inder Singh IAS (Retd.)Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Punjab and former Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab
67. Tirlochan Singh IAS (Retd.)Former Secretary, National Commission forMinorities, GoI
68. Jawhar Sircar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & former CEO, Prasar Bharati
69. Narendra Sisodia IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI
70. P.S.S. Thomas IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission
71. Geetha Thoopal IRAS (Retd.) Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata
72. Hindal Tyabji IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir
73. Jawed Usmani IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh & former Chief Information Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh
74. Ashok Vajpeyi IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi
75. Ramani Venkatesan IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra

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Feb 5, 2021