An FIR was lodged on Thursday against celebrities including Ramchandra Guha, Mani Ratnam and Aparna Sen, who had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concern over the growing incidents of mob lynching. As many as 49 celebrities who had opened the letter have been booked for tarnishing the image of the country and “supporting secessionist tendencies,” among others.
The case was lodged after an order was passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari two months ago on a petition filed by local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha. While talking to a news agency, Mr Ojha said that the CJM had passed the order on August 20 accepting his petition upon the receipt of which an FIR was lodged at the Sardar police station.
In the petition, nearly 50 signatories were named as accused who allegedly “tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the prime minister” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies.”
The FIR was lodged under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those relating to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with intent to provoke breach of peace.
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.
It had said that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately while stressing that there was “no democracy without dissent.” It also noted that Jai Shri Ram had been reduced to a “provocative war cry”.