Muzaffarpur police in Bihar Thursday lodged an FIR against nine eminent personalities and 40 unnamed people on charges of sedition and assumptions prejudicial to national integration. Those named in the FIR — historian Ramchandra Guha, film personalities Shyam Benegal, Adoor Gopal Krishnan, Shubha Mudgal, Saumitra Sen, Mani Ratnam, Revathi, Aparna Sen and Konkona Sen – had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concern over the growing incidents of mob lynching.
The FIR at the Sadar Police Station came on the order of Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari on a petition filed by local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha on July 27.
Ojha has accused the celebrities of trying to “bring the country a bad name by going to media about their complaint to PM on cases of rising intolerance”.
The court had asked the police to file an FIR against the nine on August 20.
The FIR (673/19) has been filed under IPC sections 124A (sedition), 153B (assertions or assumptions prejudicial to national integration, 160,190, 290, 297 and 504. Sadar police station sub-inspector Hareram Paswan has been asked to investigate the case.
Ojha’s letter to the court further 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”.
Ojha told The Indian Express: “Everyone has the right to write to PM on anything but going to media with its content was fraught with nefarious design to cause an atmosphere of ill will. They wanted to raise concerns over mob lynching. They could have waited for the government response before trying to give their verdict”.