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Ramchandra Guha, Mani Ratnam, Aparna Sen among 49 booked for sedition for letter to Narendra Modi against mob lynching

Actor/film-maker Aparna Sen addresses a protest against targeted lynchings, in Kolkata.

Actor/film-maker Aparna Sen addresses a protest against targeted lynchings, in Kolkata.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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The celebrities had penned an open letter to the Prime Minister on growing incidents of mob violence.

A case of alleged sedition has been registered in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur against 49 celebrities, including Ramchandra Guha, Aparna Sen, Mani Ratnam and Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who had expressed concern in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over growing incidents of mob lynching.

Mr. Gopalakrishnan termed the move “unbelievable”. Addressing mediapersons on the sidelines of the release of an Islamic encyclopaedia on Friday, he said the letter was written by responsible citizens who visualised the nation as a democracy with space for plural opinions.

He reiterated that they could not be branded anti-national just because they did not agree with the government in power. “We are still a democracy and every citizen has the right to write to those in power, up to the President,” he said.

The letter, he said, had raised apprehension over mob lynchings of the poor. “Will they kill a man who has power and force him to chant Jai Shri Ram?” Using Rama’s name as a “killing cry” was terrible, he said.

 

“Instead of taking action on the issues raised in the letter, there was a propped-up petition by people who outnumbered us,” he said.

He said any responsible government would have taken action on the issue highlighted in the letter. Instead, there had been a dozen such cases of people being killed. The lynchings, he alleged, increased as the perpetrators knew no one would get punished. “Each of them deserves to be punished, even with capital punishment,” the wellknown filmaker said.

 

On the allegation that the letter tarnished the country's image, Mr. Gopalakrishnan asked if the lynchings, which were reported around the world, did not bring a bad name to the country. “We were exerting pressure on the government to stop lynchings, not attacking or accusing anyone.” Asked about the future course of action, the filmmaker said he was yet to discuss it with the other signatories to the letter.

When contacted by the media, Ms. Sen refused to comment on the matter stating that it was sub judice.

The open letter was released in July. An advocate, Sudhir Kumar Ojha, filed a petition in the court of the Muzaffarpur Chief Judicial Magistrate, seeking action against the signatories for alleged sedition, public nuisance and hurting religious feelings. On the court's direction, the police registered the case on Thursday.

(with PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Nov 18, 2019 8:36:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ramchandra-guha-mani-ratnam-aparna-sen-and-others-who-wrote-open-letter-to-pm-modi-booked/article29593009.ece

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