A petition was filed in a Bihar court on Saturday against 49 eminent citizens, who had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on lynching of minorities and hate crimes, seeking slapping of sedition and other charges.
The petition was filed by an advocate before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate under different sections of the Indian Penal Code, relating to sedition, imputations and assertions prejudicial to national-integration and hurting religious feelings.
Petitioner Sudhir Kumar Ojha has also named actress Kangana Ranaut and directors Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri, who were among 61 high-profile personalities to counter the letter, as “witnesses”.
Ojha alleged that the 49 signatories to the letter had, by their act, “tarnished the image of the country and undermining the impressive performance of the Prime Minister” and also charged them with “supporting secessionist tendencies”.
The matter is likely to come up for hearing on August 3.
On Tuesday, 49 personalities, including filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal and historian Ramchandra Guha, had expressed concern at the number of “religious identity-based hate crimes”.
They also noted that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has become a provocative war cry with many lynching incidents taking place in its name.
Sixty-one intellectuals, including lyricist Prasoon Joshi and singer Malini Awasthi, responded with a counter statement on Friday against “selective outrage and false narratives”.
“It (the July 23 letter) is aimed at tarnishing India’s international standing and to negatively portray the prime minister’s untiring efforts to effectuate governance on the foundations of positive nationalism and humanism which is the core of Indianness,” the statement read.