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Sedition charge against film makers, actors, singers and intellectuals

Image Credit :- Financial Express

49 eminent Indian personalities



HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on October 16, 2019 regarding the registration of an FIR against 49 eminent Indian personalities filed under IPC sections 124A (sedition), 153B (assertions or assumptions prejudicial to national integration and other offences in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar. The Human rights defenders are 49 eminent Indian personalities ranging from academicians to artists and persons from various cultural fields, and had signed the open letter addressed to the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. Those named in the complaint are historian Ramchandra Guha, filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Adoor Gopal Krishnan, ShyamBenegal, Aparna Sen, actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Konkona Sen Sharma and Revathi, and classical singer Shubha Mudgal.

In the letter, signed in July, 2019 the celebrities had stated that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately, while stressing that there was "no democracy without dissent", and also noting that ‘Jai Shri Ram’, a Hindu holy saying, had been reduced to a “provocative war cry”. The letter also urged the Prime Minister to take action by making such offences non-bailable and allow for punishment to be meted out immediately.

Mr. Sudhir Kumar Ojha, an advocate in Bihar had approached Chief Judicial Magistrate in Muzaffarpur district Mr. Surya Kant Tiwari on July 27, 2019, seeking the registration of a case against the signatories of the letter after which an order was passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Mr. Tiwari on August 20, 2019. In his petition, Mr. Ojha accused the celebrities of trying to “bring the country a bad name by going to media about their complaint to PM on cases of rising intolerance”. The FIR against the signatories alleges that they were seditious and undermined the PM’s “impressive performance” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies”

According to the information, on October 3, 2019 Bihar police in Muzaffarpur district lodged a FIR (673/19) at the Sadar Police Station against the nine people and 40 unnamed people under sections 124A (sedition), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 160 (committing affray), 290 (public nuisance), 297 (trespassing on burial places with an intention to hurt religious feelings) and 504 (insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code.

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