• More of us will speak every day: Another 650 add their names to open letter

    Indian Cultural Forum

    October 9, 2019

    More people are sending in their endorsements as we release this. The Indian Cultural Forum will publish updates every day, and keep count of those who speak against the silencing of citizens’ voices.

    An FIR has been lodged against forty-nine of our 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?

    All of us, as members of the Indian cultural community, as citizens of conscience, condemn such harassment. We do more: we endorse every word of the letter our colleagues wrote to the Prime Minister. This is why we share their letter here once again, and appeal to the cultural, academic and legal communities to do the same. This is why more of us will speak every day. Against mob lynching. Against the silencing of people’s voices. Against the misuse of courts to harass citizens.


    Text of open letter written to Prime Minister Modi on 23 July 2019 by 49 eminent citizens, including Aparna Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, Ashis Nandy and Ramachandra Guha:


    We, as peace loving and proud Indians, are deeply concerned about a number of tragic events that have been happening in recent times in our beloved country.

    Our Constitution describes India as a secular socialist democratic republic where citizens of all religions, ethnicities, gender and castes are equal. Hence, to ensure that every citizen enjoys the rights given to her/him by the Constitution, our submission is:

    1. The lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately. We were shocked to learn from the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) reports that there have been no less than 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016, and a definite decline in the percentage of convictions.

    Further, 254 religious identity-based hate crimes were reported between January 1, 2009, and October 29, 2018, where at least 91 persons were killed and 579 were injured (FactChecker.in database, October 30, 2018). The Citizen's Religious Hate-Crime Watch recorded that Muslims, (14% of India's population) were the victims in 62% for cases, and Christians (2% of the population), in 14% cases. About 90% of these attacks were reported after May 2014, when your Government assumed power nationally.

    You have criticized such lynchings in Parliament Mr. Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators? We strongly feel that such offences should be declared non-bailable, and that exemplary punishment should be meted out swiftly and surely. If life imprisonment without parole can be the sentence in cases of murder, why not for lynchings, which are even more heinous? No citizen should have to live in fear in his/her own country!

    Regrettably "Jai Sri Ram" has become a provocative 'war-cry' today that leads to law and order problems, and many lynchings take place in its name. It is shocking to see so much violence perpetrated in the name of religion! These are not the Middle Ages! The name of Ram is sacred to many in the majority community of India. As the highest Executive of this country, you must put a stop to the name of Ram being defiled in this manner.

    2. There is no democracy without dissent. People should not be branded ‘anti-national’ or 'urban Naxal' and incarcerated because of dissent against the Government. Article 19 of the Constitution of India protects freedom of speech and expression of which dissent is an integral part.

    Criticising the ruling party does not imply criticising the nation. No ruling party is synonymous with the country where it is in power. It is only one of the political parties of that country. Hence anti-government stands cannot be equated with anti-national sentiments. An open environment where dissent is not crushed, only makes for a stronger nation.

    We hope our suggestions will be taken in the spirit that they are meant – as Indians genuinely concerned with, and anxious about, the fate of our nation.

    Read the statement in Urdu here.
    Read the statement in Tamil here.

    Aarti Aney Kamal Vora Ronodeb Paul
    Abadan Khan Amitava Kanad Sinha Roop Rekha Verma
    Abeer Chakravarty Kanti Mohan Soj Roshmi Goswami
    Abha Bhaiya Karen Gabriel Rosinka Chaudhuri
    Abhay Kumar Karthika Nair Rupa Chinaif
    Abhijit Roy Karuna Jha S Irfan Habib
    Abhijit Sengupta Kausik Mukhopadhyay Sabby Nanu
    Aditi Banerjee Kavita Singh Sabyasachi Chatterjee
    Aditi Rajeev KB Garg Sachidanand Sinha
    Aditya Nigam KE Radhakrishna Sachin Desai
    AI Khan Ketaki Dutt Sadia Wahidi
    Aimee Wadia Keval Arora Sameer Chib
    Ajai Singh Khalid Alvi Sameera Iyengar
    Ajas Hyzer Khalid Ashraf Sameera Jain
    Ajay Kumar Kiran Singh Samir Khurana
    Ajayan Adat Kirity Roy Sanal Kumar Sasidharan
    Albeena Shakil Kirtana Kumar Sandeep Meel
    Ali Imam Khan Kirti Jain Sandhya Srinivasan
    Alok Bajpai Kirty Roy Sangeetha Mathew
    Amandeep Sandhu KM Shrimali Sanghita Sen
    Amarjeet Kaur KM Srinivasa Gowda Sangita Gairola
    Ambar Shrivasatava Komita Dhanda Sanjay Kumar Sinha
    Ambika Devi Kopparthy Venkata Ramana Murthy Sanjay Madhav
    Ambika Tandon KP Sasi Sanjna Kapoor
    Amit Rai Krishnaraj Chonat Sanjoop KP
    Amita Chatterjee Krishnaswamy S Sankar Varma
    Amita Joseph Kristine Michael Santanu Mandal
    Amitabh Pandey Kumar Ketkar Santhi Vakulabharanam
    Amitabha Basu Kumar Prashant Santosh Jha
    Amiti Sen Kumkum Roy Sara Rai
    Amman Madan Kundan Tuteja Saroop Dhruv
    Amrit Rajkhowa L Ramdas Saswati Sengupta
    Anand K Sahay Lalit Vachani Sathya S
    Anand Mathew Lalita Ramdas Satish Chand Abbi
    Anand Swarup Verma Lara Jaydha Satyajit Rath
    Anil Bhatti Lata Singh Satyendra Kumar
    Anil Gangal Lavanya Saumya Baijal
    Anil Kumar Singh Laxmi Murthy Saumyajit Bhattacharya
    Anil Roy Laxminarayan Ramdas Saurabh Bajpai
    Anirudh Nair Lillete Dubey Saurabh Naruka
    Anit Maria Joseph Lima Kanungo Savita Tripathy
    Anita Cherian Lubna Sarwath Savithri Singh
    Anita Dighe M Mohanty Sebastian Joseph
    Anita Dube M Sathyam Seetharama B
    Anita Rampal Maansi Shah Sehba Farooqui
    Anita Vachharajani Madan Lal Hind Sethumadhavan
    Anjali Mathur Madhavi Menon Shabari Rao
    Anjali Purohit Madhu Bhushan Shabnam Hashmi
    Anju Dodiya Madhuchhanda Karlekar Shah Alam Khan
    Anmol Vellani Mahendra Ved Shai Heredia
    Anna Dani Mahesh Darpan Shaibani Azam
    Annie Koshi Mahesh Kumar Shailendra Asthana
    Anshul Sharma Maimoona Mollah Shaili Sathyu
    Antara Dev Sen Makarand Sathe Shakun Doundiyakhed
    Antony Thomas Malasree Dasgupta Shalinee Tripathi
    Anu Bal Manas Ghosh Shamik Sen Gupta
    Anuja Ghosalkar Manasi Shamim Ahmed
    Anupama Potluri Manisha Chaudhry Shampa Roy
    Anupama Srinivasan Manju Kapur Shamya Dasgupta
    Anuradha Chenoy Manmohan Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri
    Anuradha Lobo Manoj Sharma Shantha Sinha
    Anvita Abbi Manorama Sharma Sharad Raj
    Aparna Andhare Mansi Bhatt Sharada Sathe
    Apoorva CA Manthan Samayiki Sharda Ugra
    Apurba Baruah Manu Chakravarthy N Sharifa Vijaliwala
    Archana Prasad Mariam Fatima Sharmila Joshi
    Arijit Sen Maya Joshi Shaswati Mazumdar
    Arjumand Ara Meena Gupta Shaveta Sharma
    Arpita Das Meena Gupta Shavez Waris
    Arshia Sattar Meera Devidayal Sheeba Chadha
    Arundhati Roy Megha Pansare Sheo Dutt
    Arunima G Mehak Talwar Sherna Gandhy
    Arunkumar HG Mercy Kappen Shernaz Vakil
    Arya Rajam Mercy Margaret Shireen Jungalwala
    Asghar Wajahat MG Husain Shirish Parab
    Asha Hans Minakshi Rajdev Shiv Shankar Mukherjee
    Asha Mishra Mithileshwar Shobha Naresh
    Ashish Dasgupta Mohammad Faheem Shobha Singh
    Ashlin Mathew Mohan Rao Shobhit Mahajan
    Ashok Rao Mohd Zubair Idrisi Shobhna Jain
    Ashok Salian Mohini Gulrajani Shreyasi Dastidar
    Ashoke Ranjan Thakur Moses Suchith Shripad Bhat
    Ashutosh Kumar Mridula Mukherjee Shruti Bijnoria
    Asma Menon Mridula Shankar Shubha
    Astad Deboo Mrinal Shukla Sawant
    Atul Dodiya Mrityunjay Sitanath Lahkar
    Atul Gurtu MS Murali Krishna SK Das
    Atul Kumar MS Prakash Babu SK Pande
    Atul Pethe Mukunda Rao Smriti Kapoor
    Atul Sood N S Goswami Sohail Hashmi
    Audrey Truschke Nadeem Rezavi Somashekarappa Hiriyur Mallaiah
    Avalokita Dutt Nalin Ranjan Singh Sonal Kellogg
    Avijit Dutt Namita Singh Sonia Sarkar
    Avinash Kumar Namrata Sen Souparna Lahiri
    Ayushya Kaul Nandana Reddy Souradeep Roy
    Bajrang Bihari Nandini Rao SP Ambrose
    Basavaraj Urs Nandita Basu Sreedhara Murthy
    Batul Mukhtiar Nandita Narain Srimanjari Ballal
    BB Choudhary Nandita Rao Srinivas Kakkilaya
    Bharat Singh Meena Narain Bairath Sriram MS
    Bharati Jagannathan Narbhinder Sriram Srinivasan
    Bhaskar Chattopadhyay Naresh Dadhich Subba Ghosh
    Bijayini Satpathy Naresh Prerna Subhadra Channa
    Bina Agarwal Naresh Saxena Subhangini Thorat
    Bose Krishnamachari Nataraj Honnavalli Subhash Malik
    Bratati Pande Navnita Chadha Behera Subhro Bandopadhyay
    BS Prakash Navsharan Singh Subir Dey
    Carol Rao Nayana Pai Subodh Bedre
    Chanchal Chauhan Neel Chaudhuri Sucheta Mahajan
    Chandra Dev Ola Neelam Gupta Sudarshan Shetty
    Chandranath Ray Neelam Jeena Sudeshna Banerjee
    Chandrashekhar Phansalkar Neha Singh Sudha Chaudhari
    Chandrika Parmar Nikhat Reaz Sudha Nagavarapu
    Chhaya Datar Nikhil Jois Sudhanshi Vasudev
    Chinki Sinha Nina Rao Sudhanshu Mishra
    CP Chandrasekhar Nina Rao Sudhir Singh
    CP Geevan Nipun Makkar Suhit Kelkar
    CS Chandrika Nisha Biswas Sujay Saple
    Cyril Mathias Nisshat Sheikh Sukhmani Riar
    Dakxin Chhara Nivedita Menon Sumanta Banerjee
    Debabrata Roy Laifungbam NP Hafiz Mohamad Sumi Krishna
    Debjani Sengupta Nupur Basu Sunanda Bhat
    Debmalya Ghosh Om Saini Sunanda Mehta
    Deepak Sanan Padma Velaskar Sundar Burra
    Deepak Sinha Padmaja Shaw Suneeta Chaturvedi
    Deepika Pali Bhupinder Singh Sunetra Neogy
    Deepika Tandon Pallavi MD Sunil Shanbag
    Dev Desai Pankaj Bist Sunit Sinha
    Devashish Makhija Pankaj Chaturvedi Sunita Viswanath
    Devdan Chaudhuri Parikshit Dalal Sunitha Kumar Emmart
    Devika Pariplab Chakraborty Sunny Dhiman
    Devika Singh Parvathi Menon Supriya Chaudhuri
    Dhirendra K Jha Parvez Ahmad Supriya Shukla
    Dimple Oberoi Vahali Phaniraj K Surabhi Sharma
    Dinesh Abrol Poonam Girdhani Suresh Babu
    DN Jha Poonam Kaushik Suresh Chabria
    Dolphy D’souza Poonam Tushamad Suresh Korati
    Dunu Roy Prabal Agarwal Suresha B
    Durga Bhavani S Prabha Pandey Surupa Sen
    Faraz Ahmad Prabhjot Kaur Suryanarayana Reddy R
    Faredoon Bhujwala Pradeep K Deb Susan
    G Hariramamurthi Pradip Kumar Datta Susan Barton
    G Rajashekhar Prakash Bare Sushant Shalini
    G Ramakrishna Prakash Chaturvedi Sushi Kadanakuppe
    Gafoor Karuvannur Pramod Bagde Sushma Varma
    Gajendra Narayan Sharma Pramod Kale Sushma Veerappa
    Gargi Bharadwaj Pramod Kumar Sushmit Ghosh
    Gautam Bhattacharya Prashant Mukherjee Svati Shah
    Gautam Krishnankutty Pratap Bhanu Mehta Swapna Liddle
    Geeta Mahashabde Pratishtha Pandya Swarn Kanta
    Geeta Seshu Praveer Peter T Surendra Rao
    Geetha Mehra Prem Jha Tabasheer Zutshi
    Geetha Thoopal Prem Kumar Vijayan Talib Khwaja
    Geetika Vidya Ohlyan Pritam Paul Tani Bhargava
    Ghanshyam Shah Prithpal Sehdave Tanwir Akhtar
    Ghasi Ram Chaudhry Priya Sarukkai Chabria Tara Rao
    Ghazala Jamil Priyanka Pathak Tariq Khan
    Gigi Scaria Punam Zutshi Tasneem Fatima
    Giitanjali Chiya Purushothama Bilimale Tathagata Bhattacharya
    Giriraj Kishore Pushpamala N Tejal Kanitkar
    Glenissa Pereira Qaiser Shamim Thelma Taylor
    Goddanti Omkarnath R Nagaraj Tiny Shah Singh
    Gopal Menon R Padmini TK Rajalakshmi
    Gopika Nath Radha Kumar TK Thomas
    Govind Ram Radhika Chadha TM Thomas
    Gowreesh Kapani Radhika Menon Tony Sequeira
    Gudavarthy Vijay Raghu Godavarthi Udit Yadav
    Gun Nidhi Raghvendra Raghav Ujjwal K Chowdhury
    Gurjit Singh Cheema Rahul Chandra Ullattil Achu
    Gurpreet Sidhu Rahul Kumar Ishwar Upendra Shankar
    H Pattabhirama Somayaji Rajan Gurukkal Usha Rai
    Habib Khan Rajani Mani Utsa Patnaik
    Harish Khare Rajat Datta V Alan Bosco
    Harsh Kapoor Rajat Nagpal Vaasanthi
    Hemendra Chandaliya Rajeev Bhargava Vagish K Jha
    Himmat Seth Rajesh Joshi Vakulabharanam Ramakrishna
    Hiralal Rajasthani Rajesh Kumar Valerie Baliwalla
    Iliyas Husain Rajesh Umadevi Srinivas Vani Subramanian
    Imrana Khan Rajiv Gupta Vani Verma
    Inder Salim Rakesh Gupta Vasudha Dalmia
    Indira Unninayar Rakhi Basu Vasundhara Chauhan
    Indranee Dutta Ram Rahman Veena Hariharan
    Indrapramit Roy Ramchandra PN Veena Naregal
    Indu Agnihotri Ramesh Bajaj Venita Coelho
    Indu Chandrasekhar Ramesha Venugopal Rao
    Iqbal Niyazi Ramona Adhikari Vibha Puri Das
    Ishrat Syed Ramsharan Joshi Vickram Crishna
    Jahangir Asghar Jani Ramya Pothukuchi Vidya Das Arora
    Jahar Kanungo Ranabir Samaddar Vidya Vakulabharanam
    Jai Arjun Singh Randhir Singh Vidyut Gore
    Jaiwanti Shukla Rani Day Burra Vijay Crishna
    Jamsheed Rizwani Ranjani Shettar Vijay Padaki
    Janarthanan T Ranjith Shankaran Vijay Swami
    Jasleen Randhawa Rashme Sehgal Vikas Maniar
    Jatin Sheth Rashmi Sawhney Vikash kumar
    Jawhar Sircar Rashmitha Tulabandula Juvvadi Vikash Narain Rai
    Jaya Iyer Rasika Agashe Vikram Iyengar
    Jaya Rani Ratna Raman Vikram Tandon
    Jayant Pawar Ravi Avasthi Vilasini Kumar
    Jayaprakash Nd Ravi Bhushan Vimala KS
    Jayati Ghosh Ravi Nair Vineet Tiwari
    Jeevan Singh Ravi Sidlipura Vineetabh
    Jeroo Mulla Ravi Srivastava Vineetabh Kumar
    Jhuma Sen Ravikumar Kashi Vinyasa Hegade
    Joseph Mathai Ravinder Banyal Vipin Balguher
    Joyanti Sen Rekha Rao Vipin Negi
    Jyotsana Asthana Rekha Verma Virkein Dhar
    Jyotsna Lall Richa Raj Vishakha Chanchani
    K John Koshy Ridhima Mehra Vishnu Prabhakar
    K Laxmi Narayana Rimli Bhattacharya Wasi Haider
    Kalpana Chakravarthy Rina Kamath Winston Dsouza
    Kalpana Kannabiran Rinchin Yasir Abbasi
    Kalpana Swaminathan Rintu Thomas Zafar Agha
    Kalyani Chaudhuri Ritambhara Shastri Zaheer Ali
    Kamakshi Balasubramanian Ritwik Banerjee Zahoor Siddiqui
    Kamal Chenoy Rizio Yohannan Zasha Colah
    Kamal Nayan Kabra Rohan Dsouza  

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