Open Letter to PM: Cops to Drop Sedition Charges, Book Petitioner
Image used for representational purposes. 
Image used for representational purposes. (Photo: Shruti Mathur/The Quint)

Open Letter to PM: Cops to Drop Sedition Charges, Book Petitioner

The Bihar police on Wednesday, 9 October, ordered closure of a sedition case lodged against nearly 50 celebrities, including filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam and Anurag Kashyap, and the complainant would be prosecuted for levelling "false" allegations, a top police official said.

The development comes after a number of opposition leaders and prominent personalities condemned the filing of the FIR last week on the complainant by a Muzaffarpur-based advocate against the celebrities who had signed an open letter seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in "rising incidents" of mob lynching across the country.

The Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters), Jitendra Kumar, said on Wednesday that the case was lodged at Muzaffarpur in the wake of the Chief Judicial Magistrate's order under Section 156(3) of the CrPC.

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Under the provision, the police had "no option but to register a case under sections which the reading of the complaint discloses", he said.

The ADG said the matter was supervised by SSP Muzaffarpur. "The complainant could not produce supporting documents or evidence, not even the alleged letter written by the 49 persons, which may support his claim of commission of any offence," he said.

"On this and other circumstantial basis, the case is found to be false and order has been issued by him to investigating officer to submit final report- false. Along with this, finding this to be an intentional purpose of complainant, prosecution under sections 182 and 211 (of the IPC) will be submitted against complainant for lodging a false case," the ADG added.

Those named as accused by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha, who had filed the petition on 23 July, also included historian Ramachandra Guha, actors Soumitra Chatterjee, Aparna Sena and Revathi and light classical singer Shubha Mudgal.

Bollywood personalities Kangana Ranaut, Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri – who were critical of the open letter – were named as "witnesses".

The FIR was lodged at the Sadar police station upon receipt of an order passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari in August.

Also Read : More Of Us Will Speak: Over 1,300 Celebs Endorse Open Letter to PM

The number of celebrities and noted personalities endorsing the open letter to PM Modi against mob lynchings only rose after sedition charges were slapped against them, with the tally crossing over 1,389 as of Wednesday.

The latest signatories included personalities like writers Arundhati Roy, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Asghar Wajahat, Pankaj Bisht; artists Atul Dodiya, Pushpamala N, Anita Dube, Sudarshan Shetty; academics DN Jha, Utsa Patnaik, KM Shrimali; journalists Harish Khare, Parvathi Menon and TK Rajalakshmi, and others from the cultural community such as Sanjana Kapoor and Jawhar Sircar.

(With inputs from PTI)

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