- 180 celebrities, including Naseeruddin Shah and Romila Thapar, opposed the registration of the case
- All 180 people said – How can a case of treason be made by writing a letter to the Prime Minister?
- On October 3, a case was registered in Muzaffarpur against 49 people who wrote letters to Modi
Patna: The Bihar police on Wednesday decided to close the sedition case against 49 prominent personalities who had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concerns over incidents of mob lynching across the country.
180 celebrities, including Naseeruddin Shah and Romila Thapar, had opposed the registration of the case. They had said – How can a case of treason be made for just writing a letter to the Prime Minister?
The 180 celebrities from all over India including authors, actors and dancers, endorsed an open letter written by 49 personalities to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing concern over the incidences of mob lynchings in the country, while condemning the FIR filed in Muzaffarpur.
The signatories included actor Naseeruddin Shah, dancer Mallika Sarabhai, authors Ashok Vajpeyi, Nayantara Sahgal and Shashi Deshpande, historian Romila Thapar, and artist Vivan Sundaram.
“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,” their statement said. “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?”
Additional Director General (ADG) HQ Jitendra Kumar said Muzaffarpur SSP Manoj Kumar had supervised the case.
Muzaffarpur SSP Manoj Kumar said that during the investigation, the police did not find “enough substance” in the sedition charges and decided to close the case against all 49 celebrities. He said a case will also be filed against lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha for filing a false case against the celebrities.
Case against complainant will be filed, says SSP “Recommendations have been made for closure of the case against celebrities as the investigation revealed the allegations were levelled against the accused only to gain publicity. A case against the complainant will also be filed under Sections 182 and 211 of the Indian Penal Code”, the Muzaffarpur SSP said.
The police had registered the case last week after an order by chief judicial magistrate Surya Kant Tiwary. The court passed the order while hearing a petition filed by social activist and lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha.
Those against whom the petition was filed included filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal, actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Mani Ratnam, and singer Subha Mudgal.
When contacted, the complainant, lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha, said that he had appeared before the police with four witnesses — Mukesh Sah, Ajit Kumar, Basisth Narayan Ojha and Santosh Kumar.
Ojha said he gave newspaper cuttings as proof and also recorded his statement before the police. The case against 49 prominent personalities had created a flutter in political and social circles.