NEW DELHI: Some of India’s top retired civil servants have written a letter to the BBC registering strong protest against Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad’s attack on their credibility in an interview with Stephen Sackur in the popular program Hard Talk.

“Mr Prasad dismissively responded to your query by questioning our credibility on the ground that ninety percent of the members of this group were those who, in 2014, had made a public appeal to vote against Shri Narendra Modi. This is completely false” the retired bureaucrats have written to Sackur in a signed letter. They have pointed out that they had never been together as a group before 2017 and then too had come together “to voice our concern against the decline in secular, democratic and liberal values enshrined in the Constitution and the climate of hate and fear which we believed, and still do, had been induced by the ruling establishment.”

Stephen Sackur, the host for the BBC program, interviewed Prasad amidst concerns cited by the BBC “that India, the world’s most populous democracy is in the grip of a divisive rband of populism. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, leads a Hindu nationalist government in a country with more than two hundred million non-Muslim citizens and communal tensions seem to be rising.”

The promotion for the program by the BBC asks: “ Could India be facing its darkest hour since independence?”

Prasad is asked hard questions by Sackur including why the BJP does not have a single Muslim MP. And why Muslims do not vote for the party. The evasive Prasad finally concedes that this is so because of a “sinister campaign” against the BJP. To which Sackur responds, “no they do not vote for you because you do not seek their vote.”

A short clip can be seen at:

The full text by the senior civil servants, now retired reads: