Around 180 members of the art and culture community including TM Krishna, Jerry Pinto, Ranjit Hoskote, Romila Thapar, Mallika Sarabhai and Naseeruddin Shah wrote an open letter to Narendra Modi, condemning the sedition charges filed against the 49 signatories who had addressed a letter previously to the Prime Minister on 23 July this year, highlighting atrocities against Dalits and minorities in India.
Terming the charges as harassment, the 180 signatories endorsed the letter the 49 had written previously. “They wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, expressing concern about mob lynching in our country. Can this be called an act of sedition? Or is harassment by misusing the courts a ploy to silence citizens’ voices?" the letter reads. "More of us will speak every day. Against mob lynching. Against the silencing of people’s voices. Against the misuse of courts to harass citizens,” the letter stated, as per a report by The Wire.
The entire text of the open letter is as follows:
An FIR has been lodged against forty-nine of our colleagues in the cultural community, simply because they performed their duty as respected members of civil society. They wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, expressing concern about mob lynching in our country.
Can this be called an act of sedition? Or is harassment by misusing the courts a ploy to silence citizens’ voices?
All of us, as members of the Indian cultural community, as citizens of conscience, condemn such harassment. We do more: we endorse every word of the letter our colleagues wrote to the Prime Minister. This is why we share their letter here once again, and appeal to the cultural, academic and legal communities to do the same. This is why more of us will speak every day. Against mob lynching. Against the silencing of people’s voices. Against the misuse of courts to harass citizens.
Abha Dev Habib
Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
Jawari Mal Parakh
KG Sankara Pillai
Krishnan Unni P
Rukmini Bhaya Nair
Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri
Shoma A Chatterjji
Sunil P Elayidom
On 3 October, an FIR was filed in Muzaffarpur, Bihar against 49 artists including Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen, Ramchandra Guha etc among others. The petitioner, a local advocate named Sudhir Kumar Ojha, alleged that their letter, written on 23 July, "tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the Prime Minister" besides "supporting secessionist tendencies".
The open letter, as written by these 49 artists on 23 July, brought to the fore issues such as mob lynching of Dalits and minorities, increasing cases of hate crimes in the country, to the acts of violence in the name of religion. The letter also contained a plea to the Prime Minister for stringent actions against the perpetrators.
In a press conference soon after the letter was circulated on social media, Aparna Sen had said, "We are doing this because we love our country. We are raising our voices against the secular fabric of our country being ruined". She added, "No one has the right to brand any one of us (the signatories) as anti-nationals...One must not politicise this."
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Updated Date: Oct 08, 2019 17:06:13 IST