Reacting to the backlash over a sedition case filed against 49 celebrities who wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday that his party and the union government had no role in the matter.
In the aftermath of the case, many have spoken up including Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, DMK Chief MK Stalin, and over 180 other celebrities who wrote to PM Modi questioning the case against their 49 colleagues.
Javadekar responded to this criticism on Tuesday, and said that the BJP’s involvement was an “absolute falsehood” being spread by “tukde-tukde” gang.
“This has nothing to do with BJP and government. This is a canard which is always spread to defame the Modi government and give an impression that there is a choking of freedom of expression in a draconian fashion under it,” he said. ““This is an absolute falsehood spread by vested interests and the tukde-tukde gang,” he added.
On October 2, a case was filed against 49 renowned names including actor-directors Revathy, Konkona Sen Sharma, filmmaker Mani Ratnam and historian Ramchandra Guha for a letter they had written to the PM expressing concern about the rising incidence of communal violence in the country.
The case was filed in Bihar’s Muzzaffarpur after a chief judicial magistrate passed an order on a petition filed by lawyer Sudhir Ojha. The advocate had accused the 49 signatories to the letter of tarnishing “the image of the country and undermining the impressive performance of the Prime Minister" besides "supporting secessionist tendencies".
The FIR was registered under sections of the IPC for sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.
The letter in question had appealed to PM Modi to take action against identity-based lynchings that have been taking place in India against Muslims, Dalits and other minorities. The letter had stated that “Jai Shri Ram” had become a provocative war cry, and had appealed to the Prime Minister to stop the use of Ram in this manner.