As many as 49 celebrities across various platforms and professions including Bollywood, artists, historians and theatre have on Wednesday written a letter to PM Modi, alleging that there is intolerance in the country and a mindset of fear due to certain incidents. Also claiming that 'Jai Shri Ram' chants have become a war-cry, the letter further alleges lynchings in the slogan's name.
However, confronted on LIVE TV, the intolerance lobby of celebrities led by Bengali filmmaker Aparna Sen was unwilling to answer on a series of questions regarding matters where one would think they would have cited 'intolerance' in a similar measure but remained silent instead.
Here are 10 of the many incidents on which the 'intolerance' lobby did not speak up:
In May 2019, BJP worker Priyanka Sharma was arrested in West Bengal for sharing a met gala meme on Trinamool Chief Mamata Banerjee on Facebook. The meme had a morphed picture of Mamata Banerjee’s face on Priyanka Chopra's met-gala look. Where was the intolerance lobby then?
In a big controversy on June 29, 2019, the Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan Congress government as filed a charge sheet in the Alwar lynching case against deceased Pehlu Khan for alleged cow smuggling. On April 1, 2017, Pehlu Khan and few others were thrashed over suspicion of cow smuggling. While the chargesheet posthumously booked Khan, his supporters and protesters, on the contrary, maintained otherwise saying that he was only transporting cattle for the sake of selling and buying. What was the 'Intolerance' lobby doing then?
Described as the "worst violence in Uttar Pradesh in recent history", riots broke out in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh in around August-September 2013, that resulted in nearly 62 deaths of which 42 victims were Muslims and 20 Hindus. On February 8, 2019, seven convicts were sentenced to life imprisonment by the court in connection with the riots. They were convicted by additional district and sessions judge Himanshu Bhatnagar for the killings of Gaurav and Sachin on August 27, 2013, and rioting. Why not one of the signatories raised his/her voice then?
Two days back on July 22, Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe suggested that minorities should pick up arms in self-defense and said, “Our jihad is defensive jihad, there's no offence in our jihad. Justifying the call for guns for minorities, the cleric added that camps are being organised only to teach them how to fill the forms for arms license.
Communal tension increased in the first week of July in Old Delhi's Hauz Qazi after a temple was vandalised due to a clash that broke between two groups over a parking lot. Security was tightened by the police and tensions increased between the localised of the area. Why was the lobby silent then?
On July 7, 2019, the BJP party claimed that one of its workers, identified as 26-year-old Krishna Debnath, was beaten to death in West Bengal's Nadia district for chanting ''Jai Shri Ram". In the aftermath of the incident, WB BJP president Dilip Ghosh demanded Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's immediate resignation and saying that she has "failed to perform her duties in maintaining the law and order situation in the state".
In another shocking incident, 7-year-old student of Class one of Sri Ramakrishna Sikshalaya in West Bengal’s Howrah district was beaten by his teacher inside the school premises for chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans. The teacher reportedly thrashed the student named Aaryan Singh for chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ in the school premises. Responding to the incident, his father revealed that while other students were also raising chants of 'Jai Shri Ram', it was only his son who was beaten by the teacher.
Why was it not a problem for the Lobby when Facebook page admins were arrested by Kumaraswamy’s police in Congress-JD(S) ruled Karnataka for sharing posts against the Chief Minister. The act was condemned by the Karnataka High Court on June 27, saying that “There appears to be a police Raj” in the state?
In one of the biggest controversies, this year, Bollywood woke up to Zaira Wasim's shocking and cathartic heartfelt letter on June 30 in which the actress announced her exit and dissociation from the film industry. While an array of celebrities backed Wasim in her decision, many eyebrows were raised on her, even then the Lobby was missing from the political discourse.
On 5 July 2019, clashes broke out in Nanpura located in Gujarat's Surat between protestors, who gathered to protest against mob lynching and the police. In the clash, four policemen were severely injured. Furthermore, a total of 12 people have been injured in the incident. Over 1,000 people had gathered to protest against the incidents of mob lynching in the country. In order to control the mob, police had to resort to fire in the air and lob teargas shells after the rally turned violent.