The Polit Bureau of CPM on Sunday strongly condemned the sedition cases filed against forty-nine known personalities who had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought that the charges be "immediately rescinded".
"Writing a letter to the Prime Minister expressing opinions on important matters cannot be constituted as a crime and be termed as anti-national. We demand that the charges against the eminent intellectuals and artists be immediately rescinded," read the CPM's statement.
Expressing concern over instances of mob violence against Muslims and Dalits, 49 intellectuals had in July this year written an open letter to Prime Minister Modi demanding to ensure "exemplary punishment" for the perpetrators of such crimes.Pursuant to this, a case was lodged at Bihar's Muzaffarpur Sadar Police Station on the directions of the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, earlier this week.
Expressing shock over the orders of the court, CPM said: "The Supreme Court had ruled as early as 1962 that the sedition clause cannot be invoked unless there is a direct call or instigation of violence against the State."
"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," said the CPM.
Signatories to the letter include Shubha Mudgal, actor Konkona Sen Sharma, and filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, and Mani Ratnam among others. The letter also highlighted that 'Jai Shri Ram' is becoming a "provocative war-cry."
In response to the letter, the Central government had said that Dalits and minorities are safe in the country and that those who are "yet to recover" from the defeat in the Lok Sabha polls are trying to communalise "criminal incidents.
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