The lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately, luminaries from different fields have said in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi while also stressing that there is “no democracy without dissent”.
The letter, written by 49 eminent personalities, including filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen, Anjan Dutt as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal and historian Ramchandra Guha, also noted that Jai Shri Ram has been reduced to “provocative war cry”.
“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,” the letter dated July 23 said.
“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,” it continued.
They also regretted that “Jai Shri Ram” has been reduced to a “provocative war cry” and alleged the prime minister’s inaction on the issue.
“You have criticised such lynchings in Parliament Mr. Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators?”
“Ram is sacred for the majority community, stop defiling the name of Ram,” the letter read.
It also underscored the significance of dissent in a democracy.
“There is no democracy without dissent. People should not be branded anti-national or urban Naxal and incarcerated because of dissent against the government.”
When reached out for comment, Anurag Kashyap responded, saying, “You have been seeing what’s been going on. No one says a thing, no one condemns it strongly enough for it to stop. They are busy amending the RTI . I don’t know if the letter would make any difference, most probably it will be drowned in the noise and chaos of news channels and trolls digging out whatever suits the narrative, and fake news and more ‘Go to Pakistan’ ‘tukde tukde award wapasi urban naxal gangs’. Remotely hoping that the PM speaks strongly.”
The signatories to the letter include Bengali cinema thespian Soumitro Chatterjee, southern filmmaker-actor Revathy, actor Konkona Sen Sharma, social activist Binayak Sen and sociologist Ashis Nandy.
Here is the full test of the letter and names of signatories.