To: The Prime Minister of India, Chief Ministers of the States, and Lieutenant-Governors of the Union Territories.

30 July, 2017

We are a group of Veterans of the Indian Armed Forces who have spent our careers working for the security of our country. Collectively, our group holds no affiliation with any single political party, our only common commitment being to the Constitution of India.

It saddens us to write this letter, but current events in India have compelled us to register our dismay at the divisiveness that is gripping our country. We stand with the ‘Not in My Name’ campaign that mobilised thousands of citizens across the country to protest against the current climate of fear, intimidation, hate and suspicion.

The Armed Forces stand for "Unity in Diversity". Differences in religion, language, caste, culture or any other marker of belonging have not mattered to the cohesion of the Armed Forces, and servicemen of different backgrounds have fought shoulder to shoulder in the defence of our nation, as they continue to do today. Throughout our service, a sense of openness, justice and fair play guided our actions. We are one family. Our heritage is like the multi-coloured quilt that is India, and we cherish this vibrant diversity.

However, what is happening in our country today strikes at all that the Armed Forces, and indeed our Constitution, stand for. We are witness to unprecedented attacks on society at large by the relentless vigilantism of self-appointed protectors of Hinduism. We condemn the targeting of Muslims and Dalits. We condemn the clampdowns on free speech by attacks on media outlets, civil society groups, universities, journalists and scholars, through a campaign of branding them anti-national and unleashing violence against them while the State looks away.

We can no longer look away. We would be doing a disservice to our country if we do not stand up and speak for the liberal and secular values that our Constitution espouses. Our diversity is our greatest strength. Dissent is not treason; in fact, it is the essence of democracy.

We urge the powers that be at the Centre and in the States to take note of our concerns and urgently act to uphold our Constitution, both in letter and in spirit.

Signatories (in alphabetical order of last name)

  1. Lt Col EN Ambre
  2. Brig VKS Antony
  3. Maj MK Apte
  4. Col CT Arasu
  5. Lt Col Israr Asghar
  6. Cdr CR Babu
  7. Lt Cdr PS Bal
  8. Lt Cdr Rakeh Bali
  9. Maj Gen Dipankar Banerjee
  10. Lt Gen CA Barretto
  11. Brig Noel Barretto
  12. Col TS Bedi
  13. Surg Cdr P Bellubi
  14. Petty Off Gajanan Bhat IN
  15. Cdr PG Bhat
  16. Gp Capt AV Bhagwat
  17. Col V Bopiah
  18. Maj Gen PR Bose
  19. Vice Adm A Britto
  20. Col RT Chacko
  21. Lt Col M Chandrasekhar
  22. Cdre R Clarke
  23. Col KS Choudhry
  24. Brig TPS Chowdhury
  25. Brig Dileep Deore
  26. Col Samuel Dhar
  27. Lt Gen FT Dias
  28. Lt Col AP Durai
  29. Gp Capt MP Elangovan
  30. Maj Gen Shyamal Ghosh
  31. Col V Nanda Gopal
  32. Cdre EC Govindan
  33. Col V Govindarajan
  34. Col RP Grover
  35. Cdre PC Gulati
  36. Cdr M Hari
  37. Lt Col Muzaffar Hasan
  38. Brig Prem Hejmadi
  39. AVM Kapil Kak
  40. Col AT Kalghatgi
  41. Maj Gen MPS Kandal
  42. Col MS Kapoor
  43. Maj Gen TK Kaul
  44. Lt Col PB Keskar
  45. Lt Col V Kharkar
  46. Wg Cdr R Khosla
  47. Brig Anil Malhotra
  48. Col Arun Malhotra
  49. Lt Col RC Malhotra
  50. Brig GK Malik
  51. Cdre G Menezes
  52. Wg Cdr SN Metrani
  53. Maj GN Misra
  54. AVM RP Misra
  55. Col Biman Mistry
  56. Col RB Mistry
  57. Col AK Mitra
  58. Col Pradip Mitra
  59. Maj Gen H Mukherji
  60. Maj Gen RPRC Naidu
  61. Col Pavan Nair
  62. Lt Col VK Nair
  63. Col RLV Nath
  64. Cdr M Nirmal
  65. Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi
  66. Rear Adm Alan O’Leary
  67. Air Cdre Tanpat Pannu
  68. Lt Col Niraj Pant
  69. Col RC Patial
  70. Cdr Hector Poppen
  71. Capt Subbarao Prabhala IN
  72. Brig Ranjit Prasad
  73. Brig VHM Prasad
  74. Wg Cdr KV Raghuram
  75. Brig RS Rajan
  76. Col SS Rajan
  77. Cdr SM Rajeshwar
  78. Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar
  79. Col TN Raman
  80. Admiral L Ramdas
  81. Vice Adm IC Rao
  82. Col TK Ravindranath
  83. Air Marshal DS Sabhikhi
  84. Lt Col Nagaraj Sastry
  85. Lt Gen KM Seth
  86. Col PD Shah
  87. Brig Baqir Shameem
  88. Lt Gen YN Sharma
  89. Lt Col HD Shirmane
  90. Vice Adm MR Schunker
  91. Cdr MA Somana
  92. Brig Amardeep Singh
  93. Gp Capt DR Singh
  94. Brig Joginder Singh
  95. Brig Mastinder Singh
  96. Cdr Rajiv Singh
  97. Col Salam K Singh
  98. Col S Srikantha
  99. Brig M Sudandiram
  100. Flt Lt R Suresh
  101. Sgt MN Subramani
  102. Lt Cdr P Subramanyam
  103. Maj Gen L Tahliani
  104. Cdr SP Taneja
  105. Cdr TP Tharian
  106. Lt Col JK Thomas
  107. Cdr M Thomas
  108. Cdr N Tripathy
  109. Air Marshal NV Tyagi
  110. Capt AK Varma
  111. Wg Cdr BJ Vaz
  112. Maj Rajah Velu
  113. Lt Col R Venugopal
  114. Maj Gen SG Vombatkere