49 celebrities have penned a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into the hate-crimes that is going on in the country for a few days. Responding on the letter, director Ashoke Pandit while speaking to Republic TV said that these people rise against the government before elections.
"Very clear opinion about this, They are like frogs who come up before rains, the assembly elections are going to happen in states, the 90 per cent of the signatories are the same who rose 2014 elections, then some of the assembly elections like during Madhya Pradesh election, then before 2019 Lok Sabha elections, their modus operandi is same. I want to ask Mr Shyam Benegal was he not aware of killings of Hindus in Bengal or Kerala. Why was the letter not written then?"
Even as the government continues to take a firm stand against those misusing religion or religious teaching, the 49 celebrities have in their letter demanded the stop of incidents of 'lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities, citing NCRB reports. They have also demanded immediate action against those propagating religious identity-based hate crimes. They have asked in their letter as to what action has been taken. "What action has been actually been taken against the perpetrators? We strongly feel that such offences should be declared non-bailable, and that exemplary punishment should be meted out swiftly and surely."
They went on to state that "Jai Shri Ram" has become provocative 'war-cry' that leads to law and order problems. They stated that 'criticising the ruling party does not imply criticising the nation. They end the letter stating that they are "Indians genuinely concerned with, and anxious about, the fate of our nation.' Claiming that there is no democracy without dissent, the celebrities expressed that no certain individual should be branded as 'anti-national' or 'Urban Naxal' because of the dissent against the government.
"No society is even, incidents of intolerance and violence, these things settle down, we have lived together for several thousand years as different communities. So why are we suddenly becoming? Yes, there will be hate crimes from time to time, first of all, we should not blow it up to such extent. Secondly, you should not take advantage of it. You have to curb it. Saying that we are conspiring is an odd thing. Signing that letter is a call for sanity. Everybody is concerned about growing crimes. We want to live in peace, happiness and satisfaction because we are a diverse community. I don't believe that we are against the system. We are a secular Constitution. We are growing well on all fronts. The economy is growing well. We are on a growth trajectory, but there are problems that some people take advantage of. The idea is you need to function with certain principles, that we have - Constitution, excellent Constitution."