New Delhi: The lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately, celebrities from various 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 Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen 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.”
The signatories to the letter include Bengali cinema thespian Soumitro Chatterjee, southern filmmaker-actor Revathy, social activist Binayak Sen and sociologist Ashis Nandy.