Indian celebrities voice concerns over minority lynching

Published 30 July 2019  |  

Indian celebrities voice their concerns over lynching of minorities and wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The lynching of Muslims, Dalits (Indian lowest-caste) and other minorities must be stopped immediately. We were shocked to learn from the National Crime Records Bureau reports that there have been no less than 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits [lower Hindy caste] in the year 2016, and a definite decline in the percentage of convictions," the letter said.

The letter was signed by up to 49 celebrities, including filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal and Mani Ratnam, actor Konkona Sen Sharma and singer Shubha Mudgal.

The celebrities highlighted the fact on how the famous chant "Jai Shri Ram" has now turned into a provocative war cry that is leading to many law and order problems. "It is shocking that so much violence should be perpetrated in the name of religion! These are not the Middle Ages! The name of Ram (Hindu God) 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," they said in the letter.

"You have criticized such lynching in Parliament Mr. Prime Minister, but that is not enough. What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators?

"We strongly feel that such offenses should be declared non bailable and exemplary punishment should be meted out swiftly and surely," the letter continued.

At the same time, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has defended the government. In a talk with Press Trust of India news agency, the only Muslim in Modi's Cabinet said that minorities and Dalits are safe in the country.

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