49 CELEBRITIES WRITE A LETTER TO PM, SPARK INTOLERANCE DEBATE

NEWS

The debate over rising intolerance in India gained fresh ammunition after 49 celebrities from various walks of life wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The lengthy three page letter claimed that the ‘hate crimes rate’ had risen in the recent path. Categorically mentioning that Lynchings against Muslims, Dalits & other minorities are on a rise.

Here are a few excerts of the letter.

‘DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT NUMBER OF TRAGIC EVENTS’
‘LYNCHING OF MINORITIES MUST BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY’
‘PM HAS CRITICIZED LYNCHINGS IN PARLIAMENT’

‘CRITICISING IS NOT ENOUGH’

‘LYNCHING SHOULD BE DECLARED NON-BAILABLE OFFENCE’

‘EXEMPLARY PUNISHMENT SHOULD BE METED OUT’
‘NO CITIZEN SHOULD HAVE TO LIVE IN FEAR’
‘JAI SHRI RAM HAS BECOME A PROVOCATIVE WAR CRY’
‘STOP RAM’S NAME FROM BEING DEFILED IN THIS MANNER’

‘CAN’T BRAND DISSENT AS ANTI-NATIONAL’

‘DISSENT MAKES COUNTRY STRONGER’

Even claiming the chants of Jai Shree Ram were being used as a war cry.

49 signatories of the letter included the following prominent personalities

SHYAM BENEGAL, FILMMAKER
REVATHY, ACTOR
ANURAG KASHYAP, FILMMAKER

APARNA SEN, FILMMAKER/ACTOR

KONKONA SENSHARMA, FILMMAKER/ ACTOR
MANI RATNAM, FILMMAKER
RAMCHANDRA GUHA, HISTORIAN
SHUBHA MUDGAL, SINGER/ MUSICIAN
This however drew sharp criticism from the ruling party. Many questioned the artistes & accused them of spreading panic in the name of condemnation against hate crime.

In the meanwhile those backing the letter say, this move by the celebrities will only help the government as it backs the government in strengthening laws against hate crimes.

The debate of intolerance has gained pace in the last 5 years, but what remains to be seen is will the government change this perception in the next coming 5 years.

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