The new ordinance on 'love-jihad' has turned the state into 'an epicentre of politics of hate, division and bigotry', 104 former IAS officers wrote in an open letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The bureaucrats demanded the withdrawal of the 'illegal' ordinance. The signatories include former National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, and former adviser to the Prime Minister TKA Nair.
The strongly worded letter further read that all politicians, including the CM, need to 're-educate' themselves about the Indian Constitution which they have sworn upon'.
"A series of heinous atrocities committed by your administration against young Indians across Uttar Pradesh... Indians who are simply seeking to live their lives as free citizens of a free country" read the six-page letter.
The UP government on November 24, gave nod to the 'anti-conversion' ordinance to check the "unlawful religious conversions" and "inter-faith marriages with the sole intention of changing a girl's religion". The ordinance proposes jail term up to 10 years if found guilty. The ordinance was commonly known as the 'love-jihad' ordinance.
Love-jihad is a conspiracy theory promoted by right-wingers wherein Muslim men enter into a relationship or marriage with Hindu women to convert them to Islam.
The civil servants flagged several instances, where minorities were targeted under the garb of the controversial anti-conversion ordinance, including the recent case from Moradabad, where the Bajrang Dal allegedly accosted two men, dragged to the police and arrested on allegations of forcing a Hindu girl for marriage.
"What is inexcusable is the police remained mute as vigilantes harassed and interrogated the innocent couple. The woman suffered a miscarriage, possibly as a result of harassment," the letter said, quoting The Indian Express report.
"The anti-conversion ordinance of your State is being used as a stick to victimise especially those Indian men who are Muslim, and women who dare to exercise their freedom of choice," the letter added.
The bureaucrats said that the entire UP Police force needs to be trained without delay in respecting the citizens' rights.
The Allahabad High Court had made similar observations in a case. 'An adult woman has the right to live life on her terms', the court had ruled.
The court had observed that interference in personal relationships constitutes 'a serious encroachment into the right to freedom of choice of the two individuals'.
The signatories alleged that Uttar Pradesh can be seen undermining the court's observations and the Constitution of India.
They also pointed out that the term itself over which the ordinance is based, 'Love Jihad' is not recognised by the central government. Many states have also stopped passing 'anti-love jihad' laws that are being used to threaten the minority section of society.
UP's ordinance has also been criticised by four former judges, including former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur, who told NDTV it was "unconstitutional".