Writers from both Telugu states have condemned the sedition case registered by Bihar police against 49 public intellectuals. Those include historian Ramachandra Guha, actor Konkana Sen Sharma, and filmmaker Mani Ratnam. They had earlier written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against mob lynching.
In an open letter, the Telugu writers condemned the “Hitlerite, McCarthyite witch hunt” and urged the PM to “withdraw the case against intellectuals unconditionally”. They state, “With shock and disbelief, we note the unfortunate development of a case against 49 intellectuals who asked the Prime Minister to restrain the rise of mob lynching in the country. We want to remind all freedom-loving people that this action smacks of Nazi onslaught in 1930s’ Germany and McCarthy’s witch hunt in 1950s’ US.”
The intellectuals, including several worthy daughters and sons of India such as Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen, Shubha Mudgal, Soumitra Chatterjee and Anurag Kashyap, have only expressed their views against the cruel practice of mob lynching and requested the Prime Minister to intervene.
Describing the appeal as something that “tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the prime minister” and “supporting secessionist tendencies” is a falsification of the highest order, the writers stated. More so is applying penal sections of sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with intent to provoke breach of peace to the appeal is a subversion of law and a grave violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
“We, Telugu writers and socially concerned freedom-loving people from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, condemn this action unequivocally. We want to repeat the importance of dissenting voices, as the letter said, ‘no democracy without dissent’. We appeal to the government and all those who have the authority to withdraw the case and allow freedom of expression immediately,” they demanded.