From Anurag Kashyap to Aparna Sen, 49 Celebrities Write an Open Letter to PM Modi over 'Lynchings'July 24, 2019 18:27
The gang violence and lynchings in India the name of religion is only intensifying day-by-day. Expressing concern over the lynchings, social activists, filmmakers, and artists wrote an open letter to Narendra Modi.
"Regrettably 'Jai Shree Ram' has become a provocative war-cry today", "The name of Ram is sacred to many in the majority community of India... put a stop to the name of Ram being defiled", "Over 254 religious identity-based hate crimes were reported between January 1, 2009, and October 29, 2018", "840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016", "Dear Prime Minister, what action has been taken against the perpetrators?"
These are some of the statements made and questions asked in an open letter signed by social activists, filmmakers and artists like Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Binayak Sen, Soumitro Chatterjee, Aparna Sen, Konkana Sen Sharma, Revathy, Shyam Benegal, Shubha Mudgal, Rupam Islam, Anupam Roy, Parambrata, Riddhi Sen to name a few.
(Image source from: ScoopWhoop)
These celebrities have also stressed that having dissent is a crucial part of any democracy. Anybody who uses this right as a citizen should not be branded as 'anti-national'. Moreover, sacred names like 'Ram' should not be used frivolously in pursuit of violence.
These celebrities have pointed out disturbing facts and stats which point to the rising of these lynchings ever since the ruling party came to power.
“Over 254 religious identity-based hate crimes were reported between January 1, 2009, and October 29, 2018, where at least 91 persons were killed and 579 were injured (October 30, 2018). 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016. The Citizen's Religious Hate-Crime Watch recorded that Muslims, (14 percent of India's population) were the victims in 62 percent of cases, and Christians (2 percent of the July 23, 2019 population), in 14 percent of cases. About 90 percent of these attacks were reported after May 2014, when your government assumed power nationally.”
Celebrities have signed this letter stating these incidents as a 'proactive war-cry'. They sincerely added that their power of tagging someone an 'anti-national' or 'urban Naxal' is a dissent against the ruling party.
Filmmaker and social activist Ashok Pandit, however, vehemently criticized the letter saying, "So the 'urban Naxals', 'Tukde Tukde Gang' have received finances from our enemy countries to make noise before the Assembly elections. We will fight them out. No worries."
By Sowmya Sangam