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Can't silence our voices: New letter slams sedition case against intellectuals

Can't silence our voices: New letter slams sedition case against intellectuals

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 09 Oct 2019, 11:35 am

Mumbai, Oct 9 (IBNS): Over 180 eminent personalities including actor Naseeruddin Shah and historian Romila Thapar have raised questions over the FIR lodged against 49 intellectuals for writing an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi three months ago.

In this new letter released on Monday, the signatories raised questions that how writing an open letter to the prime minister could amount to sedition.

"An FIR has been lodged against 49 of our colleagues in the cultural community simply because they fulfilled their duty as respected members of civil society by expressing concern about mob lynching in our country," it questioned, wondering if this does not amount to "harassment by misusing the courts to silence citizens' voices," the letter, available with media, claimed.

The signatories of the new letter also include writers Ashok Vajpeyi and Jerry Pinto, academician Ira Bhaskar, poet Jeet Thayil, author Shamsul Islam, musician TM Krishna and filmmaker-activist Saba Dewan.

They said that they will continue to raise their voices against mob lynching and are against the silencing of "people's 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, and that is why we share their letter here once again and appeal to 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," the letter added.

What did intellectuals write?

Forty-nine intellectuals including filmmakers Adoor Gopalakrishan, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen, Goutam Ghose, Kaushik Sen, actor Soumitra Chatterjee, historian Ram Chandra Guha had written a letter to Modi in July saying the slogan in the name of God has become a "war-cry".

The letter read, "...'Jai Shree Ram' has become a provocative "war-cry" today that leads to law and order problems, and many lynching take place in its name. It is shocking that so much violence should be perpetrated in the name of religion!"

Citing the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports, which states no less than 840 incidents of atrocities took place only in 2016, the intellectuals said, "The lynching of Muslims, Dalits and minorities must be stopped immediately."

The letter also highlighted the report claiming 254 religious identity-based hate crimes were reported between January 1, 2009 and October 29, 2018.

On Oct 3, an FIR was lodged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those related to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings with an intent to provoke breach of peace against these intellectuals.

Can't silence our voices: New letter slams sedition case against intellectuals

India Blooms News Service
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