Sedition charges against 49 writers and filmmakers who wrote open letter to PM Modi

The celebs are booked under sections which include sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace. The petitioner is known to put frivolous cases on famous people.

celebs against lynching

On Thursday, an FIR was lodged in Muzaffarpur, Bihar against 49 imminent personalities for writing an open letter to Prime minister Modi on frequent mob lynchings.

The 49 celebrities include historian Ramchandra Guha and filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap and Aparna Sen. The FIR is lodged after an order was passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari two months ago on a petition filed by local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha.

The celebs are booked under sections which include sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.

In their letter to Modi in July the public figures claimed that the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan had become a “provocative war cry” and the reason for a number of lynchings.

“Regrettably ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has become a provocative ‘war-cry’ today that leads to law and order problems, and many lynchings take place in its name,” the signatories had told the prime minister. “It is shocking that so much violence should be perpetrated in the name of religion! These are not the Middle Ages! The name of Ram is sacred to many in the majority community of India. As the highest Executive of this country, you must put a stop to the name of Ram being defiled in this manner.”

Also Read: 49 distinguished personalities from film, theatre, and academia write to PM Modi on lynchings

Some of the other prominent names who signed the letter are filmmakers Ravathy, Anurag Kashyap, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal, author Amit Chaudhuri, scholar Ashis Nandy, and actor Konkona Sen Sharma.

Sudhir Kumar Ojha- the petitioner

Muzaffarpur based lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha has a penchant for filing cases on celebrities, activists, and politicians. His favorite target is film stars who are “hurting religious sentiments” or for posting “obscene pictures”. He is known to be a publicity monger and it has also helped him establish his practice.

Among the list of people, he has filed cases are Shahrukh Khan and his wife Gauri Khan and Alia Bhatt for the song “Radha teri chunri” of the move Student of the year for hurting religious sentiments. He has filed cases against Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Salman Khan.

He has filed against actresses Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif, Vidya Balan and Bihar girl Sonakshi Sinha for “obscene photographs”.

He always seems to target the opposition government. He has filed cases against Sushil Kumar Modi, Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal, and even Lalu Yadav.

He has also filed cases against Ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar. Ojha has filed a criminal complaint case against the Prime Minister, challenging the decision to award the Bharat Ratna to the cricket maestro. He has charged the Prime Minister with hurting “people’s sentiments”.

He has also filed a case against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi to apologize before the court for being depicted as a goddess in the Moradabad Congress office.

In the present case, he has accused the celebrities of tarnishing the country’s image, and undermining ‘the impressive performance of the prime minister’ and  “supporting secessionist tendencies”.

Social media reacts 

In her response to theQuint, Aparna Sen has commented on the FIR- “This is ridiculous, there is nothing seditious in the letter. These are very strange times. Slowly, our democratic space is being taken away like this. This is pure harassment, it is just harassment and nothing else”.

Rahul Gandhi who was in Wayanad to meet youth protesting against the travel ban on Bandipur National Highway 766 also commented on the increasingly authoritarian state country is going towards.

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