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President Murmu Has To Be Reminded Of Her Oath? Bold Open Letter By Journalist A.J. Philip

President Murmu reminded of her oath by an open letter

A.J. Philip, a seasoned journalist working in Delhi, submitted a letter addressing President Droupadi Murmu outlining the serious situation amidst the ongoing unrest in Manipur. He emphasized that the President is more accountable to the country compared to the Prime Minister. She cannot be a passive observer like PM Modi, Philip says.

Subsequent to a “Tribal Solidarity March” was organized throughout the hill districts to demonstrate opposition towards the Meitei community’s quest for Scheduled Tribe (ST) designation, fighting initially started on May 3. Almost three thousand individuals have been hurt and nearly 100 people have died since then.

I doubt whether you know that you have a greater responsibility to the nation than the Prime Minister. It is obvious in the Presidential oath, as prescribed by Article 60 of the Constitution.

A.J. Philip

The journalist used the President’s oath while claiming that the US President’s oath is essentially the same. The responsibility to take action in the event the Constitution is violated by the government in text or spirit complies with what the oath requires of the President. She cannot watch helplessly while an entire state burns, he stated, emphasizing that she is neither a rubber stamp nor a bird trapped within a gilded cage, according to Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer as he famously identified the Indian President.

Philip emphasizes the destruction brought on by the recent escalation of violence, that has forced more than forty thousand people—mostly Adivasis—from their homes and forced them into relief camps where they are now living on the little possessions on their backs.

The letter highlights the pride and tenacity of the Adivasi group, stressing that they choose to put up with adversity rather begging for help. According to Philip, the animosity and religious divisions that have driven the violence in Manipur are reminiscent of the tactics used by totalitarian regimes like the Croats as well as Serbs in Yugoslavia and the Third Reich in Germany. Philip draws emphasis to the substantial harm that has occurred in Manipur during the previous two months.

In accordance to reports, more than five hundred churches, schools, as well as other kinds of institutions, as well as close to ten thousand homes, have all burnt down. Unfortunately, hundreds of people are said to have died. The very fact that internet connectivity has been unavailable in the area for two months, preventing information from reaching the rest of the country and the rest of the globe, makes the predicament even worse.

In order to establish comparisons to earlier events, Philip mentions President Rajendra Prasad’s verdict to depose Kerala’s the first-ever chosen communist government of 1959 following Glory was assassinated by police. Philip adds that Manipur offers a comparable argument for ousting the current administration for failing to defend constitutional ideals and safeguard residents.

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Philip reminded President Murmu of her need to take action in the event that the Constitution is violated by the administration, both in law and spirit, while acknowledging the restrictions on presidential participation. Philip highlights the need to uphold, defend, and maintain the Indian Constitution by quoting the Presidential Oath. Philip also highlights the President’s position as the government’s advisor and exhorts President Murmu to utilize her power to ask Prime Minister Modi for information.

She possesses every right to request any type of information as President, he claimed. She can even call Modi into person and ask him specifically what he did to put a halt to the murdering, pillaging, and burning rampage in Manipur.

He actually owes it to her to let her know about any overseas trips he takes, as well as how they turn out. This right has been utilized by presidents in the past which include Rajendra Prasad, Giani Zail Singh, as well as R. Venkataraman to get information. He said that gathering information on its own is insufficient. She ought to additionally be able to provide guidance to the government and ensure that her recommendations are followed promptly.

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He sarcastically claimed that PM Narendra Modi did not even have time to travel to Manipur despite having enough time for greeting Amitabh Bachchan when he turned 80. Additionally, he said that one month had passed since Home Minister Amit Shah visited Imphal, remained there for three days, and spoke with a variety of political leaders, yet the meeting did not yield any results.

He further criticized her predecessor, Ram Nath Kovind, for not even taking the time to consider before he signed the Three Farm Laws under political pressure. He went on to say that Kovind should have looked over the Bills and recommended the Prime Minister not to pursue them. He may have also returned them for review. If he had done so, the farmers’ agitation, which spanned over twelve months and resulted in the deaths of several hundred farmers, might possibly have been avoided. He even reminded her in the letter of K.R. Narayanan, the first from the Scheduled Caste community to reach her position.

Narayanan was in government when Godhra incident happened, and the remains of the karsevaks were used to incite riots that murdered 790 Muslims as well as 254 Hindus, the latter primarily at the behest of military personnel and the law enforcement officers. Narayanan’s lifelong regret remained that he couldn’t halt the bloodshed. It was true that he wrote to the Prime Minister, expressing his anguish but he couldn’t do anything else. Philip recalled Narayanan thwarting Vajpayee’s plan to award the Bharat Ratna on V.D. Savarkar and amend the Constitution. Because of him, the Justice Venkatachaliah Commission recommended steps to improve rather than deteriorate the Constitution.

In response to the burgeoning problem of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), Philip expressed the fear that a law like this would take away rights that Adivasis have long had. He claimed that PM Modi would probably be emphasizing on UCC in order to divert attention from his shortcomings on the jobs and economic fronts. Most people, he claimed, would simply consider it to be a Muslim concern. However, he said that as a member of a tribal group, President Murmu should be aware of the effects UCC will have on tribal members as well, which is why opposition to it is already widespread.

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He reminded her of the period when the Hindu Code Bill was proposed by the then-PM Jawaharlal Nehru, who at that time was at the peak of his popularity, in an effort to persuade her to take a decision on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) issue. President Rajendra Prasad was nevertheless able to restrain him despite that. He was trying to emphasize that he had the bravery of conviction to stand against the Bill with all his might while making it obvious that he did not endorse the president’s position. Such attempts, he claimed, caused Nehru to move slowly on the Bill.

He acknowledged the fact that we have ceased to live in a nation governed by democratic figures like Nehru and Vajpayee in a depressing tone in his letter. Instead, he asserted that all of us reside in a nation in which blatant hate is propagated and places of prayer are destroyed or set on fire.

We live in a nation where the rule of the mob, rather than the law of the land, continues to apply, he said, pleading to the president to take action. He claimed that the president’s oath requires him to uphold, safeguard, and guard the Constitution.

It is indeed humiliating that journalists and regular citizens are compelled to remind those in authority of their own duties, obligations, and oaths. All of these attempts are made in the expectation that, following such reminders, the concerned individual would take some actions that would improve the nation’s current situation and the lawlessness which is spreading like wildfire throughout the country.

Thus, Indian citizens want President Murmu to take the time to comprehend the letter’s details and acquire the spirit of a guardian of the constitution and the ideals it promotes in order to take the required steps to safeguard the country’s welfare, peace, and fraternity. 

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