VHP, Opposition lock horns over sedition case against cultural activists

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 08, 2019 Published on October 08, 2019

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, on Tuesday, dubbed the protests faced by Centre, over a sedition case against artists and intellectuals, as “the return of the tukde-tukde and award wapsi gang” right before the elections.

The celebrities had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing their concern over the incidents of mob lynching.

Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor and about 180 cultural personalities, including actor Naseeruddin Shah, wrote to Modi again condemning such harassment of the members of cultural communities. Speaking to BusinessLine, VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal said, “These people crawl out before every election to smear the government and the Hindu way of life. But the country has understood these gimmicks perfectly. No one is moved by their antics.”

On sedition charges against artists, Bansal said, “The law is the same for everybody. We have freedom of speech in India. But every right is accompanied by a sense of responsibility. If you violate the law, you face the law.”

The Thiruvananthapuram MP urged Modi to not to consider those who criticising him “anti-nationals”. “We are deeply disturbed by the FIR filed in Muzaffarpur, Bihar against a group of 49 concerned Indian citizens, who wrote a letter to you, on July 23, 2019, highlighting the rise of mob lynchings in the country,” he said and added: “We would like to register our strong protest against the FIR.”

‘A fast-spreading disease’

He said mob lynching, whether triggered by communal hatred or rumours, has become a disease that is spreading rapidly, and these citizens did the right thing in bringing it to Prime Minister’s notice. “

As citizens of India, we hope that everyone of us can fearlessly bring to your notice, issues of national importance. We would like to believe that you, too, would support the right to Freedom of Expression so that the ‘mann ki baat’ of the well-meaning citizens of India does not turn into a ‘maun ki baat,” he said.

The letter by 180 academics, actors, theatre personalities, poets, musicians and cultural activists said an FIR has been lodged against forty-nine of their colleagues in the cultural community, simply because they performed their duty as respected members of civil society. “They wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, expressing concern about mob lynching in our country. Can this be called an act of sedition? Or is harassment by misusing the courts a ploy to silence citizens’ voices?” they asked in the letter.

Published on October 08, 2019
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