An FIR was lodged in Bihar against 50 celebrities, including Ramchandra Guha, Mani Ratnam and Aparna Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan who had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concern over the growing incidents of mob lynching, police said. 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.
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”. Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi said things have reached a stage that people are being arrested for speaking against Modi. “The country is moving towards an authoritarian state and people who speak against the government or the Prime Minister are being put in jail, the media is being crushed.
Presently an ideological fight is going on in the country and it’s about if the country be ruled by one person and one ideology and all the others should shut their mouth,” said Gandhi. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor described it as “a shocking and chilling development”.
“Does Article 19 of the Constitution have no meaning for a police officer and a Chief Judicial Magistrate?” he questioned in a tweet. “Where is our democracy heading if free expression is countered by this kind of ‘legal’ harassment?”