Jai Shri Ram now war cry: 49 celebs write to PM Modi on hate crime
New Delhi, July 24: Eminent personalities from the film fraternity, historians and authors have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing deep concern over the growing trend of lynching by a mob in this country.
'Jai Shri Ram' has become a "provocative war cry" with many lynchings taking place in its name, says the letter.
The July 23 letter, which also stressed that there is "no democracy without dissent", has been written by 49 celebrities from various fields, including filmmakers Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal, historian Ramchandra Guha and sociologist Ashis Nandy.
"Dear Prime Minister... The lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately. We were shocked to learn from the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) reports that there have been no less than 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016, and a definite decline in the percentage of convictions," said the letter also signed by actor Aparna Sen and historian Ramchandra Guha, among others.
"You have criticised such lynchings in parliament Mr Prime Minister, but that is not enough... We strongly feel that such offences should be declared non-bailable..." the letter said.
"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. 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," the letter said.
" If someone criticises the ruling party, it does not imply they are against the nation, the letter said. "No ruling party is synonymous with the country where it is in power. It is only one of the political parties of that country. Hence anti-government stands cannot be equated with anti-national sentiments. An open environment where dissent is not crushed, only makes for a stronger nation," the letter read. "
"We hope our suggestions will be taken in the spirit that they are meant - as Indians genuinely concerned with, and anxious about the fate of our nation," it concluded.
PM Modi had in June condemned in parliament the lynching of a 24-year-old man in Jharkhand, and asserted that whether it is Jharkhand, or West Bengal or Kerala, incidents of violence should be treated in the same manner and perpetrators of violence get a lesson that the entire country is one on this issue.