Narendra Modei JAPAN-G20-SUMMIT
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a meeting with US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo during the G20 Osaka Summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Mani Ratnam, Shubha Mudgal amongst Indian celebrities facing sedition charges

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.

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 letter, dated July 23, stated that “lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately”, and that the slogan “Jai Shri Ram” has become a “provocative war cry”. The letter maintained that there is “no democracy without dissent”, and that people should not be branded as “anti-nationals” or “urban Naxals” for voicing dissent.

“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.

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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.

Meanwhile, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President MK Stalin has demanded that the sedition case be dropped against the 49 intellectuals, ANI reported.

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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”.

Government of India responds

Facing criticism over cases being filed against 49 eminent personalities who wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on lynchings across the country, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar Saturday said the government has nothing to do with it.Advertising

“Government has not lodged any case. An individual went to the court which has passed an order,” the minister was quoted as reported by PTI.


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