30th May 2015
Dear Shri Narendra Modi,
Pranaam. Advance greetings from the widows of five former smokers and tobacco users on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day (31st May). We feel it is apt to greet you on this great occasion as the government is a major shareholder in the tobacco industry. Our late husbands have contributed considerable amounts to your government’s massive tax income from the tobacco industries, and also to the profits of Life Insurance Corporation, financial institutions, mutual funds etc, who hold about 35% shares in ITC and other tobacco companies.
We are writing to you also because, although state after state has banned chewing-tobacco Gutka, there is only one state where gutka is manufactured: Gujarat. It is the only state in entire India that continues to manufacture gutka. From there, it is smuggled to all other states of India, in violation of the bans. Surely you know this?
Mr Prime Minister, Sir, we beg to introduce ourselves and describe the ordeal that the tobacco industry has put us and our families through.