In what comes as an unexpected turn, an FIR was filed in Muzaffarpur on Thursday against 49 celebrities including Ramchandra Guha, Mani Ratnam and Aparna Sen for writing an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, concerning the growing incidents of mob lynching.
Advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha filed a petition two months ago, urging authorities to act against those who wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, and an order was placed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari accepting the petition.
"The CJM had passed the order on August 20, accepting my petition upon the receipt of which an FIR was lodged today at the Sadar police station," Ojha was quoted as saying.
According to Ojha, 49 celebrities were named as accused in his petition for allegedly "tarnishing the image of the country and undermining the performance of the Prime Minister". It also states that the letters were strongly "supporting secessionist tendencies".
According to police, the FIR was lodged under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those relating to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace. As many as 49 celebrities including filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal, actor Soumitra Chatterjee as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal in July this year, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the letter, the celebrities urged the Prime Minister to take necessary actions to stop the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities. It was also mentioned in the letter that there was "no democracy without dissent". The letters also noted that the phrase 'Jai Shri Ram' had been reduced to a "provocative war cry".