Protesting sedition charge against peers, TM Krishna, Romila Thapar among 180 signees on open letter to PM Modi

  • Terming this as 'harassment', these 180 signatories, in unison, endorsed the letter the 49 had written previously.

  • Among the signatories include giants from the literary and art world like TM Krishna, Jerry Pinto, Ranjit Hoskote, Romila Thapar, Mallika Sarabhai and Naseeruddin Shah to name a few.

  • '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 reads.

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.

A Mangai
Aarti Sethi
Abha Dev Habib
Abhishek Kaicker
Abhishek Majumdar
Achin Vanaik
Achyutanand Mishra
Ajitha GS
Akeel Bilgrami
Amit Bhaduri
Ammu Joseph
Amrita Pande
Anand Pradhan
Anand Teltumbde
Ananya Parikh
Ania Loomba
Anil Janvijay
Anitha Thampi
Anjali Monteiro
Arun Dev
Arundhati Dhuru
Arundhati Ghosh
Arunima Sehgal
Ashok Bhaumik
Ashok Vajpeyi
Ashutosh Kumar
Atamjit Singh
Ayesha Kidwai
B Rajeevan
Badri Raina
Bajrang Bihari
Bali singh
Balvant Kaur
Bharat Tiwari
Bhasha Singh
Bodhisatv
BRP Bhaskar
Chaman Lal
Chanchal Chauhan
Chandrakant Patil
Civic Chandran
CK Meena
Damodar Mauzo
Devaki Khanna
Devendra Choube
Dilip Borkar
EV Ramakrishnan
Faisal Khan
Gauhar Raza
Gayatri Spivak
Geeta Kapur
Geetanjali Shree
Girdhar Rathi
Gita Jayaraj
Githa Hariharan
Gyan Prakash
Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
Harsh Mander
Hemlata Mahishwar
Himanjali Sankar
Hiralal Rajasthani
Ina Puri
Ira Bhaskar
J Devika
Javed Malick
Jawari Mal Parakh
Jeet Thayil
Jerry Pinto
Jyothi A
Jyoti Punwani
K Satchidanandan
K Srilata
Karthik Venkatesh
Kavery Nambisan
KG Sankara Pillai
KP Fabian
KP Jayasankar
KP Ramanunni
Krishnan Unni P
KS Parthasarathy
Kunal Sen
Leela Jacinto
MA Baby
Madhu Bhaduri
Madhusree Dutta
Mallika Sarabhai
Mangad Rathnakaran
Mangalesh Dabral
Manishi Jani
Maria Couto
Maya Rao
Merlin Moli
MMP Singh
Moinak Biswas
Moloyashree Hashmi
Moolchandra Gautam
MP Pratheesh
Mridula Garg
Mridula Koshy
MV Narayanan
Naina Dayal
Nancy Adajania
Nandita Narain
Naseeruddin Shah
Natasha Badhwar
Nayantara Sahgal
Neelan Premji
Neelima Sharma
Neeraj Malik
Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay
Nilanjana Bhowmick
NP Chekkutty
NS Madhavan
Nupur Asher
Pamela Philipose
PK Parakkadavu
PK Pokker
PN Gopikrishnan
Poile Sengupta
Prabir Purkayastha
Pradeep Chakraverti
Pramod Ranjan
Purushottam Agrawal
Rahman Abbas
Rajan Gurukkal
Rajashri Dasgupta
Rajendra Chenni
Rajendra Sharma
Rajesh Joshi
Ranbir Kaleka
Ranjit Hoskote
Ravikant
Rekha Awasthi
Renu Ramanath
Ritu Menon
Romila Thapar
Ruchi Chaturvedi
Rukmini Bhaya Nair
S Raghunandana
Saba Dewan
Saba Hasan
Sabeena Gadihoke
Saleem Peeradina
Salil Chaturvedi
Salim Yusufji
Sandeep Pandey
Sandhya Taksale
Sanjeev Kumar
Saumya Chakrabarti
Savithri Rajeevan
SG Vasudev
Shafey Kidwai
Shamsul Islam
Shamya Dasgupta
Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri
Shashi Deshpande
Sherna Dastur
Shoma A Chatterjji
Siddharth
Sonia Jabbar
Sreyashi Dastidar
Subhasini Ali
Subhasis Bandyopadhyay
Subodh Varma
Sudeshna Sengupta
Sudhanva Deshpande
Sudhir Chandra
Sumangala Damodaran
Sunil P Elayidom
Svati Joshi
Syantani Chatterjee
Syeda Hameed
TM Krishna
Udaya Kumar
Vaasanthi Sundaram
Valay Singh
Venkitesh Ramakrishnan
Vibha Maurya
Vijay Prashad
Vijaya Venkataraman
Vishnu Nagar
Vivan Sundaram
Vivek Narayanan
Yousuf Saeed
Zoya Hasan

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