49 celebrities from different walks of life have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern over the growing number of incidents of lynching. The list includes singers Shubha Mudgal, Rupam Islam, Anupam Roy, filmmakers Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen, Revathy, Shyam Benegal and actors Soumitro Chatterjee, Parambrata, Riddhi Sen to name a few.
Dated 23rd July, the letter seeks non-bailable, 'exemplary punishment' for a crime like lynching. Binayak Sen, Anjan Dutta and Gautam Ghosh, who signed the letter as well, also sounded worried over the recent trend of Government critics being termed as 'anti-national' and 'urban naxal'.
"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 letter says.
As per the letter, 'Over 254 religious identity-based hate crimes were reported between January 1, 2009, and October 29, 2018' and '840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016. '
"You have criticised such lynchings in Parliament Mr. Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators?"
"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 adds.
Through the letter, the group of eminent personalities also conveys that criticising the ruling party is in no way synonymous to criticising the country. "No ruling party is synonymous with the country where it is in power. It is only one of the political parties of that country. Hence anti-government stands cannot be equated with anti-national sentiments. An open environment where dissent is not crushed only makes for a stronger nation," the letter states.Read More