Three days after a group of eminent citizens wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the lynching of minorities and hate crimes, 61 celebrities from various fields today responded with a counter statement against “selective outrage and false narratives”.
The July 23 letter by 49 “self-styled guardians and conscience keepers” expressed selective concerns and demonstrated “clear political bias and motive”, said the statement signed by actor Kangana Ranaut, lyricist Prasoon Joshi, dancer Sonal Mansingh and filmmakers Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri among others.
“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 Indianess,” the statement read.
The document of selective outrage, it said, comes across as an “attempt to foist a false narrative with the intention of denigrating the democratic ethos and norms of our collective functioning as a nation and people”.
On July 23, 49 personalities, including filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal and Aparna Sen as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal and historian Ramchandra Guha, expressed concern at the number of “religious identity-based hate crimes” and noted that Jai Shri Ram’ has become a provocative war cry with many lynchings taking place in its name.
In their statement on Friday, 61 signatories questioned the silence of the July 23 letter writers on their silence “when tribals and the marginalised have become victims of Naxal terror”.
“They have kept silent when separatists have issued dictates to burn schools in Kashmir, they have kept silent when the demand for dismembering India, for making pieces of her -Tukde Tukde – were made, they kept silent when slogans chanted by terrorists and terror groups were echoed in some leading university campuses in the country,” the statement said.
The 61 who have signed Friday’s statement include academics such as Debashish Bhattacharya from Visva Bharati in Santiniketan, Avadh University Vice-Chancellor Manoj Dikshit, Anirban Ganguly of the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation as well as MP and journalist Swapan Dasgupta and yesteryear actor Biswajit Chatterjee.