More than 1.5 lakh letters from SFI and DYFI member activists, that are copies of those sent by celebrities, have dared PM Modi to book them as well
Members of the Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) – students and youth organizations of the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M) in Kerala sent 1.5 lakh copies of the open letter that 49 eminent personalities had written to Narendra Modi in July.
Protesting against the sedition case filed against the celebrities who wrote the open letter to the PM citing the lack of punitive measures against mob attacks and lynchings against minorities, the members of the party dared the BJP to book them in similar cases. “If they feel the 49 signatories are traitors, please go ahead and book all of us who have sent the same letter,” said DYFI State Secretary AA Rahim who has already sent 50,000 copies of the letter to the PM. “We are ready to fill the jails for this cause.”
SFI State Secretary KM Sachin said that they had already sent one lakh copies of the letter to the PM by post, adding that the move was a campaign against the “anti-democratic BJP, which filed cases against some of our best-known and most respected intellectuals and artistes who had only made a point without insulting anyone or any party.”
Former chief minister and CPM veteran V.S. Achuthanandan too had protested after the case was registered in Muzaffarpur. “India is now realising that its hard-fought freedom is not safe in the hands of dictators…. This is the time for each Indian to react,” he wrote on Facebook.
Kerala State Chalachitra Academy has also protested against the FIR in which film-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan was named. The academy, in a statement released here on Saturday, said the move by the government was a blatant violation of the freedom of expression guaranteed under the Constitution.
Last week, a Bihar court got a sedition FIR registered against 9 among the 49: filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aparna Sen and Mani Ratnam, actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Konkona Sen Sharma and Revathi, classical singer Shubha Mudgal and historian Ramachandra Guha.
The FIR was registered in Muzaffarpur on the orders of chief judicial magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari on a plea from local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha, who accused the defendants of tarnishing the country’s image.
“Case against intellectuals to destroy our Constitution”
Speaking about the FIR and the sedition case filed, AA Rahim also added, “The case against our intellectuals is part of a larger plan to destroy our Constitution and its values. By denying the rights enshrined in the Constitution, the BJP and the RSS are planning to silence those who speak against their fascist policies.”
The 49 eminent personalities have been booked under various sections of the IPC including sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.
The letter also said that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ had become a provocative war cry and B Gopalakrishnan, a BJP leader from Kerala, even asked Adoor Gopalakrishnan to 'change his name and go to another planet’ if he was unable to hear the Jai Shri Ram chant.
On Friday, Adoor had expressed concern about the FIR saying it was undemocratic and would create doubts on the law and order situation in the country. Gopalakrishnan had said last week: “We wrote that letter in the belief that democracy is in place. In the normal sense, the government should take it into consideration and find solutions.”
Congress Pens a Letter Too
Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor also appealed to the PM on Monday to "affirm the constitutional principle of Article 19" and guarantee freedom of speech and expression stating that he is "deeply disturbed" by the FIR filed against the authors of an open letter to the PM in July.
"As citizens of India we hope that every one of us can fearlessly bring to your notice issues of national importance, so that you can take the lead to address them. We would like to believe that you too would support the right to freedom of expression, so 'mann k ibaat'... does not become 'maunkibaat'," Shashi Tharoor has written in the letter.
"Since when has writing a letter of concern to the elected leader of the country... become the trigger for an FIR? Is the 'Naya Bharat' (New India) you wish to create one where citizens shall not be heard and their concerns not addressed?" Tharoor asked PM Modi.
Putting up his letter on Twitter, he also urged others to send the same, or similar letters to the PM, more FIRs notwithstanding.
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