NEW DELHI: The CPM on Sunday condemned the registration of a sedition case against 49 celebrities after they wrote an open letter to the prime minister voicing concern over incidents of mob lynching, saying this reflects the "growing authoritarianism" in the country.
The party's politburo in a statement demanded that the case be rescinded.
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 case was filed after a chief judicial magistrate passed an order on a petition filed by a lawyer alleging that the writers had tarnished the image of the country.
"Writing a letter to the Prime Minister expressing opinions on important matters cannot be constituted as a crime and be termed anti-national.
This is tantamount to punishing all those who have a dissenting opinion on the policies of the present government.
This is a complete negation of democratic rights and reflects the growing authoritarianism in the country," the CPM said.
It is surprising that a court in Muzaffarpur has ordered the registration of this case, when the Supreme Court had ruled as early as 1962 that the sedition clause cannot be invoked unless there is a direct cell or instigation of violence against the state, it added.
The party demanded that the charges against these intellectuals and artists be immediately rescinded.