Over 200 writers across the country have issued a signed appeal, saying, “Let us vote against hate politics. Let us vote for an equal and diverse India.”
Among the signatories are Amitav Ghosh, Romila Thapar, Arundhati Roy, Jerry Pinto, Keki Daruwalla, Harsh Mander, Ranjit Hoskote, R. Unni, Anand Teltumbde, Zoya Hasan and Girish Karnad. They include those writing in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bangla, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu, Kashmiri and Konkani.
The statement was released by email on Monday by K. Satchidanandan and Githa Hariharan on behalf of the Indian Writers’ Forum.
The statement said: “The upcoming election finds our country at the crossroads. Our Constitution guarantees all its citizens equal rights, the freedom to eat, pray and live as they choose, freedom of expression and the right to dissent. But in the last few years, we have seen citizens being lynched or assaulted or discriminated against because of their community, caste, gender, or the region they come from.
“Hate politics has been used to divide the country; create fear; and exclude more and more people from living as full-fledged citizens. Writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and other cultural practitioners have been hounded, intimidated, and censored. Anyone who questions the powers-that-be is in danger of being harassed or arrested on false and ridiculous charges.
“All of us want this to change. We don’t want rationalists, writers, and activists to be hounded or assassinated. We want stern measures against violence in word or deed against women, Dalits, Adivasis and minority communities. We want resources and measures for jobs, education, research, healthcare and equal opportunities for all... Vote out the division of our people; vote out inequality; vote against violence, intimidation, and censorship. This is the only way we can vote for an India that renews the promises made by our Constitution. This is why we appeal to all citizens to vote for a diverse and equal India.”