In response to an FIR being filed against 49 celebrities and prominent personalities for writing an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than 180 cultural and literary personalities have condemned the charges and endorsed the original letter.
These well-known personalities have joined hands to condemn the FIR lodged against the 49 celebrities who wrote an open letter to PM Modi expressing their concern over the growing culture of mob-lynching. These 180 personalities have endorsed that letter and questioned the courts for using sedition as a ploy to suppress voices and subjugate dissent.
Among those who have signed the letter are actor Naseeruddin Shah, writer Nayantara Sahgal, dancer Mallika Sarabhai, historian Romila Thapar, academic Anand Teltumbde, singer T.M. Krishna and artist Vivan Sundaram. In a statement, they said “more of us will speak every day” against mob lynching, silencing of people’s voices and misuse of courts to harass citizens, reported The Wire.
The FIR was lodged against the celebrities on October 3 and has been questioned by the people of this country since then. The FIR came despite the apex court’s order that sedition charges are not applicable in the criticism of the government. Recently, Justice Deepak Gupta advocated for either dilution or complete abolition of the draconian sedition law, as reported by The Wire.
In the statement issued by 185 signatories, the renowned citizens stated that the FIR was filed against the 49 “colleagues in the cultural community simply because they performed their duty as respected members of civil society.”
Full text of the statement:
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.