Forty-nine filmmakers, actors, researchers and doctors, including filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Revathy, Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen and Adoor Gopalakrishnan and actors Konkana Sen Sharma and Kani Kasruti, have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for action against lynching of Muslims, Dalits and minorities and expressing concern over the increasing religious identity-based hate crimes and intolerance towards dissent.
Stating that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has become a war-cry today, the letter asks for life imprisonment for a crime such as lynching, saying that there are 840 recorded instances of atrocities against Dalits in 2016 alone, and a decline in the number of people convicted for it. The letter says, “You have criticized such lynchings in the Parliament Mr. Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators?”
The letter further says there is no democracy without dissent and no one should not be branded anti-national or urban-naxal for criticising the ruling party since it is not synonymous with the nation. “An open environment where dissent is not crushed, only makes for a stronger nation,” it concludes.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee came out in their support and said, “Everyone in this country knows what is going on. I respect all the intellectuals, I feel that whatever they have written is a genuine grievance of the people,” reports India Today.
The letter has sparked controversy among many. Anurag Kashyap told The Hindu that they wrote it with the remote hope to make a positive difference: “You have been seeing what’s 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.”
Filmmaker Aparna Sen also organised a press meet yesterday asking the PM to intervene.
Here’s the full letter, posted by NDTV:
Image Courtesy: The Hindu