A letter dated from 23rd of July, addressing to the PM Narendra Modi, signed by 49 artists, activists, and intellectuals which asked the PMO to intervene and stop the lynchings of minorities and Dalits triggered a huge controversy since the words in the letter were very strong which directly questioned the Prime Minister. The letter also mentioned the chant "Jai Shri Raam" referring to as "war cry", this irked many of the right-wing groups and became the topic of debate at the end of July.
The next day, 63 celebrities had written a counter letter which backed the PM and slammed the artists who wrote about the lynchings. The film fraternity was divided over this ideological debate, based on the incidents which were going in the country. The list of 49 had names of renowned Tamil director Maniratham, Historian Ramachandra Guha, actress Revathi and Malayalam filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan from the south and many other artists, writers and activists from the North.
Recently, the case was registered against the 49 members, after a Chief judicial magistrate passed an order on a petition filed by a lawyer alleging that the writers had tarnished the image of the country, which includes sedition charges. Many opposition leaders lashed the government on this matter and called this as the conspiracy of the BJP government to silence the voices of the dissent.
DMK president MK Stalin in a brief statement said: "It's undemocratic to brand these intellectuals as anti-nationals by filing sedition charges, how can people who wrote about the secularism and tolerance called as anti-nationals when they are the core of the Indian constitution? These kind of incidents are making us to think whether we are living in a democratic country, it clearly shows that the whoever speaks against the BJP government will be silenced with such charges, this is totally condemnable."
Makkal Needhi Maiam President and actor, Kamal Haasan has also backed the artists by putting out a couple of tweets, Kamal Haasan in his tweet has also asked the supreme court to intervene in this matter and quash the charges which have been put up against his peers.
Bharathiraja - National award-winning director has also expressed his anger over this issue and expressed his support during a cinema event which happened in Chennai on Tuesday. He said "It's not acceptable to silence the dissent voices by slapping them with the fake cases. Should the artists only speak in the cinema and not allowed to speak out in public? This is not acceptable at all"
While even the opposition parties are blaming the BJP government for the case filed in Bihar, Union minister Prakash Javadekar had rejected all these allegations, He has said "This has nothing to do with the BJP and the government. This is a canard which is always spread to defame the Modi government and used to give the impression that there is choking of freedom of expression in a draconian fashion under it". He also added that the case was registered after the order of a magistrate court in Bihar and BJP or the Delhi ruling dispensation doesn't have anything to do with this. However, no action has been initiated against the 49 members or no explanation sought from them yet.