49 Indian celebrities booked for writing open letter to Modi on mob lynching

October 04, 2019

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. — AFP/File
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. — AFP/File

Indian police lodged a first information report (FIR) against 49 celebrities who had written an open letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the increasing cases of mob lynching in the country, Hindustan Times reported on Friday.

According to the news report, the FIR was lodged in Muzaffarpur on Thursday against 49 signatories of an open letter, including Ramchandra Guha, Mani Ratnam and Aparna Sen, who had raised concern over the growing incidents of mob lynching.

A local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha had approached Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari, seeking the registration of a case against signatories of the open letter.

“The CJM had passed the order on August 20, accepting my petition, upon the receipt of which an FIR was lodged today at the Sadar police station here,” Ojha was quoted as saying by the Indian publication.

The petitioner was quoted as saying that nearly 50 signatories of the letter were named as accused in his petition in which they allegedly “tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the prime minister” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies”.

According to the police, the FIR was lodged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those relating to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.

The news report said that the letter was written by 49 eminent personalities, including filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal, actor Soumitra Chatterjee as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal in July this year.

The open letter demanded that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities be stopped immediately, while stressing that there was “no democracy without dissent”. The open letter, addressed to Modi, also noted that Jai Shri Ram had been reduced to a “provocative war cry”.