IIM Faculty, Students Write Open Letter to PM, Say ‘His silence Emboldens Hate Voices’

Flagging the issue of hate speech and attacks on minorities, several students and faculty members from the Indian Institutes of Management in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad on Friday, have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying his silence “emboldens” voices of hate.

The letter mailed to Prime Minister’s office says, “Your silence on the rising intolerance in our country, Honourable Prime Minister, is disheartening to all of us who value the multicultural fabric of our country. Your silence, Honourable Prime Minister, emboldens the hate-filled voices and threatens the unity and integrity of our country.” It further urges him to steer the country away from “forces that seek to divide us”.

The letter has 183 signatories, including 13 faculty members of IIM Bangalore and three from IIM Ahmedabad. It has been drafted by five faculty members of IIM Bangalore, the Indian Express reported.

IIM Bangalore Assistant Professor Prateek Raj told Indian Express that a group of students and faculty took the initiative after realising that “silence was not an option any more”.

“For far too long, the mainstream discourse has dismissed the voices of hate as the fringe. That’s how we are here,” he added.

The Prof further said the signatories’ objective was to underline the fact that “if voices of hate are loud, voices of reason should be louder.”

For IIM Bangalore’s Raj, BJP leader and Bangalore south MP Tejasvi Surya’s controversial speech exhorting Hindus to convert Muslims and Christians was the tipping point. However, for other signatories, the recent attacks on churches in several parts across the country and the Haridwar Dharam Sansad acted as triggers.

The letter also mentioned, “Our Constitution gives us the right to practice our religion with dignity – without fear, without shame. There is a sense of fear in our country now – places of worship, including churches in recent days, are being vandalised, and there have been calls to take arms against our Muslim brothers and sisters. All of this is carried out with impunity and without any fear of due process.”

Requesting PM Modi to stand firm against forces that seek to divide citizens, it added, “We ask your leadership to turn our minds and hearts, as a nation, away from inciting hatred against our people. We believe that a society can focus on creativity, innovation, and growth, or society can create divisions within itself. We want to build an India that stands as an exemplar of inclusiveness and diversity in the world.”

The undersigned faculty members, staff, and students of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and Ahmedabad (IIMA) in the open letter, hope and pray that the Prime Minister will lead the country in making the right choices.

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