Around 49 celebrities across all professions in the likes of Bollywood, theatres, historians, and painters have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming intolerance in the country under the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the letter dated to 23rd July 2019, the group of artists stated that they are 'deeply concerned' about a number of tragic events that have been happening in the country in recent times.
Explaining their stance further, the letter claims that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately and that they were 'shocked' to learn that there have been no less than 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016 and that there has been a definite decline in the percentage of convictions.
The group has raised the recent spate of controversies over the chant 'Jai Shri Ram', over which there have been a number of flashpoints, particularly to do with West Bengal Mamata Banerjee who on one occasion stopped her convoy and raged at citizens who had issued the chants at her.
The letter also claims that 'Jai Sri Ram' has become a provocative 'war-cry', that has lead to many law and order problems in the country."It is shocking to see 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 majority communities in India. As the highest executive of this country, you must put a stop to the name of Ram being defiled in this manner", reads an excerpt.
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.
Read the entire letter below:
While speaking to Republic TV, ace-filmmaker Anurag Kashyap confirmed the authenticity of the letter and stated that it was 'self-explanatory'.
The letter has been signed by celebrities in the likes of Aparna Sen, Anurag Kashyap, Konkana Sen Sharma, Mani Ratnam and many others.