Ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam and 48 others including actress Revathy who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on communal violence are now facing sedition charges. An FIR was lodged against them after an order was passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari on a petition filed by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha.
According to Ojha, “The CJM had passed the order on August 20, accepting my petition upon the receipt of which an FIR was lodged at the Sadar police station (in Bihar).” He added that nearly 50 signatories of the letter were named as accused in his petition in which they allegedly “tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the Prime Minister besides supporting secessionist tendencies”.
In his plea, Ojha had said, “a total of 49 intellectuals had written a letter to PM regarding frenzied violence under his government. What transpired from reporting from newspapers and TV news channels was that there was an attempt to defame the image of the country with false allegations…such can cause ill-will in the country”.
The letter was penned by popular personalities including Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen, Revathy, historian and writer Ramchandra Guha, filmmaker and actor Konkona Sensharma, actor Kani Kusruti,
Stating that “Jai Shri Ram” had become a provocative war cry, it had appealed to Prime Minister Modi to stop the use of Ram in this manner. It also questioned the action taken by the Prime Minister against the perpetrators of such hate crimes.
“You have criticised such lynchings in Parliament Mr Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators?” it asked.