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‘Jai Shri Ram’ reduced to ‘war cry’: Intellectuals, artists write to PM Modi

The letter is written by 49 eminent personalities, including filmmakers Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal and historian Ramchandra Guha.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 24, 2019 9:40:02 pm
mob lynching, mob lynching india, artists write to pm modi on lynching, aparna sen Filmmaker Aparna Sen, historian Ramchandra Guha and director Shyam Benegal are among the signatories on the letter.

Flagging concern over the alleged rise in mob lynching incidents against minorities, 49 eminent personalities from various fields have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stressing that such incidents should be stopped immediately. They also regretted that “Jai Shri Ram” has been reduced to a “provocative war cry”.

The signatories on the letter include filmmakers Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen, vocalist Shubha Mudgal, historian Ramchandra Guha, Bengali cinema thespian Soumitro Chatterjee, southern filmmaker-actor Revathy, social activist Binayak Sen and sociologist Ashis Nandy.

“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 added.

Also read | Assaulted for not chanting Jai Shri Ram: Muslim cleric

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.

The letter 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.”

Reacting to the letter, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Dalits and minorities in the country are safe and those “yet to recover from” the defeat in the Lok Sabha polls are trying to communalise “criminal incidents”.

“We have seen the same thing after 2014 (elections) in the name of ‘award wapsi’, this is just part two of that,” the minister told PTI.

(With inputs from PTI)

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