Shyam Bengal, Ramachandra Guha, Konkona Sen Sharma
Shyam Benegal, Ramachandra Guha and Konkonsa Sen Sharma are among the 49 celebrities booked for the letter | Commons
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New Delhi: Personalities from the field of literature have come forward in support of the 49 celebrities who were booked by the Bihar Police for their open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Can this be called an act of sedition? Or is harassment by misusing the courts a ploy to silence citizens’ voices?” read the letter posted on the Indian Cultural Forum’s website on 7 October.

“All of us, as members of the Indian cultural community, as citizens of conscience, condemn such harassment. We do more: we endorse every word of the letter our colleagues wrote to the Prime Minister… This is why more of us will speak every day. Against mob lynching. Against the silencing of people’s voices. Against the misuse of courts to harass citizens,” it added.

As many as 185 people have pledged their support, and have invited others to join their campaign. Among them are historian Romila Thapar, writer K. Satchidanandan, actor Naseeruddin Shah, and author Saba Dewan.

What the July letter by 49 celebrities said 

A letter sent to PM Modi in July, signed by personalities including historian Ramachandra Guha, filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen and Anurag Kashyap, and actor Konkona Sen Sharma, had raised concerns over intolerance in India, rising cases of mob lynchings and the need to allow dissent to protect the country’s democracy.

“You have criticised such lynchings in Parliament Mr. Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators? We strongly feel that such offences should be declared non-bailable, and that exemplary punishment should be meted out swiftly and surely,” the letter read.

Weeks later Muzaffarpur-based lawyer, Sudhir Kumar Ojha filed an FIR against the 49 celebrities.

Ojha said he had no objection to the letter as such, but “by getting it published in the media, they deliberately tried to tarnish the image of the PM and the country”, he told ThePrint.

Also read: Bihar lawyer behind FIR against 49 celebrities for Modi letter had targeted Bachchan, Lalu


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5 Comments Share Your Views


  1. The FIR was lodged in Muzaffarpur district under Indian Penal Code sections related to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.

  2. Government made by people’s of india by own vote so why can’t questions to government its a democratic country’s not ………

  3. The whole country should write to the PM and see how many people they will arrest. It is sad that all the institutions work for the government’s benefits and not for the public. Dangerous situations.

    • Nobody has been arrested at all and the Govt. or the ruling party has said nothing against the letter. A private individual has gone to court and the 19 signatories should have the guts to meet that person legally in court. Why cry in public now, when you should have thought of the consequences before drafting or signing the letter ?


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