I read your letter dated 30.5.2020 to the people of India, and on behalf of the people of India wish to respond.
I have no doubt about your personal integrity. No one has ever accused you of personal corruption or siphoning off funds to foreign secret havens, which was being done on a large scale in the UPA regime.
However, there are three appeals I wish to make to you with great respect on behalf of the Indian people :
1. End this lockdown immediately as it has created havoc.
I have explained in several articles that the decision to impose a lockdown was a grave mistake. A lockdown means that the whole nation and much of the economy is brought to a total standstill. Such a serious decision should not have been taken in a haste but only after wide consultation with scientists, economists, administrators as well as experts in various fields. Instead, it appears the decision was taken in a huff at 8.30 p.m. on 24th March to be effective from midnight giving only 3 1/2 hours notice to the public. The result is for everyone to see— total chaos throughout India, crores of people deprived of their livelihood and on the verge of starvation with their families, migrants trekking hundreds of kilometers with their families, many dying on the way ( reminiscent of the plight of migrants described in John Steinbeck’s great novel ‘Grapes of Wrath’ ). The economy, which had already tanked before the lockdown, has been sent spiraling downwards. I have also said that the danger of corona has been greatly exaggerated.
2. Form a National Government immediately.
Though I have no doubts about your sincere desire to serve the people, the problems facing the country are too big for a single individual or single political party to handle. The economy is in terrible shape and has been sent further spiraling downwards due to the ill-advised and ill-considered decision to impose a lockdown. Crores of people who have been deprived of their livelihood are being driven to starvation with their families. Food riots may break out anytime and law and order may break down, as happened in France before the French Revolution of 1789, or at the time of the February Revolution of 1917 in Russia. In this situation, you should rise to the occasion, forget political and ideological differences, suppress your ego, and emulating Winston Churchill and Israel immediately form a National Government by including leaders of other political parties, scientists, economists, administrators, and others in your government. The whole nation must be united to face the colossal economic challenges ahead, just as England was united by Churchill in May 1940 when faced with the imminent danger of Nazi invasion, or as Israel has been united under a National Government today.
3. Please stop the atrocities and oppression of Muslims, as this is tearing the nation apart.
Justice Markandey Katju
Former Judge, Supreme Court of India