CPI backs celebrities slapped with sedition for writing to PM Modi over lynchings

The party said that the response of the given court to the complaint of an over-ambitious lawyer almost amounts to disallowing any public criticism of state and government.

Published: 05th October 2019 08:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th October 2019 08:00 PM   |  A+A-

CPI flag

Image of CPI flag used for representational purpose (Photo | Bechu S)


NEW DELHI: Demanding scrapping of sedition laws, the CPI on Saturday expressed solidarity with the 49 celebrities who were booked after writing an open letter to the prime minister voicing concern over incidents of mob lynching.

In a statement issued through its office secretary Roykutty, the Communist Party of India (CPI) claimed it firmly stood for independent judiciary at all levels but situations like this were bound to strengthen the apprehension that judicial systems were used to harass and intimate the critics of present BJP government.

"All these individuals are eminent personalities who are known for their contributions in various fields of art, culture and academics. The response of the given court to the complaint of an over-ambitious lawyer almost amounts to disallowing any public criticism of state and government," the party said.

The FIR was lodged in Bihar's Muzaffarpur against the celebrities, including Aparna Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Ramchandra Guha, for alleged sedition after they wrote the open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The FIR was registered on Thursday under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those related to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.

ALSO READ| Adoor Gopalakrishnan demands Central law against mob lynching

The CPI said it confirmed its apprehension that the country was moving fast towards a "fascist totalitarian regime, stifling democracy where fear is ruling everywhere and political opponents are put in jails on flimsy and false charges to languish in prisons with bails being rejected repeatedly".

The party alleged that it was a grave situation with dangerous consequences as the courts appeared to be aiding oppression by the government. The CPI claimed it was frightening that some lawyers themselves becoming a party to the oppression of the State.

"The CPI appeals to the community of lawyers to help in protecting democracy, secularism and stand for suffering people of our country. The CPI reiterates that these infamous sedition laws that were used essentially against all freedom fighters by British should be scrapped. Let us recall that (Mahatama) Gandhi ji called for scrapping of these laws. In a democracy, the right of people to criticise government openly for any reason should be welcomed and be treated as sacrosanct and certainly not as sedition. The CPI strongly expresses solidarity with the signatories of this open letter," the party said.

ALSO READ| Our open letter to PM Modi was just an appeal, so why this FIR: Shyam Benegal

The court had ordered lodging of FIR on a petition that accused the 49 signatories of having "tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the prime minister", besides "supporting secessionist tendencies".

Among those who wrote the letter July this year, were filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal, actor Soumitra Chatterjee and vocalist Shubha Mudgal It said that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately, while stressing there was "no democracy without dissent". It also noted that the 'Jai Shri Ram' slogan was reduced to a "provocative war cry".

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp