New Delhi: Several personalities of the film world, including filmmakers Mani Ratnam and Anurag Kashyap and actors Konkana Sen Sharma, Soumitra Chatterjee and Aparna Sen have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern on incidents of mob lynching in the country.
In the letter to the PM, which was signed by 49 personalities, including historian Ramchandra Guha, the Prime minister was urged to create a conducive environment in the country where intolerance was not crushed down.
''We, as peace-loving and proud Indians, are deeply concerned about a number of tragic events that have been happening in recent times in our beloved country.
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Our Constitution described India as a secular socialist democratic republic where citizens of all religions, ethnicities, genders, and castes are equal.
Hence, to ensure that every citizen enjoys rights given to him/her by the constitution, we submit that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately. We were shocked to learn from the NCRB that there have been no less than 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016, and a definite decline in the percentage of convictions,"the eminent personalities said in their letter to the PM.
The letter said that between January 1, 2009, and October 29, 2018, 254 religious identity-based hate crimes were reported where at least 91 people were killed and at least 579 were injured (fact-checker in the database). The Citizen's religious hate crime watch recorded that Muslims were the victims in 62 percent cases.
The letter. Dated July 23, that also includes Binayak Sen, Revathy, Shyam Benegal, Shubha Mudgal, Rupam Islam, Anupam Roy, Parambrata and Riddhi Sen as signatories, said that the PM criticizing such lynchings in Parliament was not enough and that action needed to be taken on them.
"You have criticized such lynchings in Parliament Mr. Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators?" the letter said.
"Regrettably "Jai Shri Ram" has become a provocative "war cry" today that leads to law and order problems, and many lynchings take place in its name," it added.
Further, celebrities have also asked the Prime Minister that anyone who raises voice against the ruling party or government should not be branded as anti-national or urban-naxal.
"People should not be branded as anti-national or urban-naxals and incarcerated because of dissent against the government. Article 19 of the Constitution of India protects freedom of speech and expression," they wrote in the letter.