Days after 49 eminent personalities wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the alleged rise in mob lynching incidents against minorities, a group of 61 personalities Friday said they were “astonished” at the “selective outrage and false narratives” voiced in that letter. The personalities, who have hit back, include actor Kangana Ranaut, lyricist Prasoon Joshi, classical dancer and MP Sonal Mansingh, instrumentalist Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, filmmakers Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri, among others.
These personalities, in an open letter, have termed the letter to PM as a “conspiracy” and attempt to “defame the nation”, while calling its signatories “self-styled guardians and conscience-keepers of the nation”
“To us, this document of selective outrage comes across as an attempt to foist a false narrative with the intention of denigrating the democratic ethos and norms of our collective functioning as a nation and people,” they wrote in the letter accessed by news agency ANI.
The signatories also include personalities from the academics, entertainment and sports fraternities.
“For the signatories, it seems the freedom, unity and integrity of India can be bartered away in the name of freedom of speech and expression. But for us, the unity and integrity of India, her freedom is sacrosanct and anyone who questions these, who works to dilute or destroy these, who conspires to disturb these need to be resisted,” the letter also added.
“The ‘open letter’ comes across to us as an attempt to mock the mandate of the marginalised, to create a false sense of fear and siege and to try and derail India’s march towards collective empowerment of all sections of society. It is clearly an attempt to defame the nation. We do condemn the conspiracy,” they said.
The signatories of the first letter included 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.