62 celebs, incl Kangana, slam ’49 peers’ for ‘selective outrage’ on intolerance


Bollywood | Countering the letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by 49 celebrities in the country, expressing concern over intolerance in the country, around 62 personalities including Kangana Ranaut, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar and lyricist Prasoon Joshi wrote a letter to the PM, slamming the earlier note for ‘selective outrage and false narratives by the 49 self-styled guardians’. The fresh letter by the Bollywood fraternity criticises an earlier document signed by 49 celebrities addressing Mr Modi over increasing incidents of hate crimes in the country.

The letter, which has been signed by prominent personalities including classical dancer and MP Sonal Mansingh, filmmakers Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri, says some people are misusing their position to generate false narrative that under this Government things are going wrong, whereas for first time “things are going in right direction”.

On July 23, several personalities of the film world, including filmmakers Mani Ratnam and Anurag Kashyap and actors Konkana Sen Sharma, Soumitra Chaterjee and Aparna Sen had written an open letter to the PM expressing concern on incidents of mob lynching in the country. In the letter to the PM, which was signed by 49 personalities, including historian Ramchandra Guha, the Prime Minister was urged to create a conducive environment in the country where intolerance was not crushed down.

‘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 described India as a secular socialist democratic republic where citizens of all religions, ethnicities, genders and castes are equal. Hence, to ensure that every citizens enjoys rights given to him/her by the constitution, we submit that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately. We were shocked to learn from the NCRB 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,” the eminent personalities said in their letter to the PM.

Challenging the contents highlighted in the letter signed by 49 celebrities, the fresh letter termed it as an ‘attempt to foist a false narrative’, with the intention of denigrating the democratic ethos and norms of collective functioning as a nation.

“To us, the undersigned, this document of selective outrage comes across as an attempt at tarnishing India’s international standing and to negatively portray Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s untiring efforts to effectuate governance on the foundations of positive nationalism and humanism,” the letter by 62 celebrities said. The letter also highlighted how the 49 ‘self-styled guardians’ kept silent when separatists issued diktats to burn schools in Kashmir.

They also accused the group of celebrities of keeping silent when ‘terrorists and terror groups’ chanted slogans in some leading university campuses in the country. The letter also slams the 49 personalities for trying to disorient the unity and integrity of India in the name of free speech and expression.

Te fresh letter said that some of the signatories of the letter addressed to PM Modi on July 23 have a ‘record of acting as mouthpieces and ideologies’ for insurgents, separatists, and terrorists. “Their concern, therefore, smacks of dishonesty and opportunism,” the letter said. The signatories of the fresh letter also credited the Modi government of trying to unite the country and curtail incidents of hate crime and lynching.

“We would urge everyone to give up selective outrage and condemn lynching, discrimination and desecration of religious places with equal vehemence when they occur,” the letter added.