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62 Celebs Who Sent Counter-Letter Are Govt Stooges: Yogendra Yadav

“For art to be involved in this petty defence of regime is for me, a negation of everything that art stands for.” 

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I am afraid the letter we have seen today clearly belongs to artists as courtiers. As they used to say in our traditional vocabulary, ye darbaari hai, bhaand hai. (They are working for the government),” political analyst and Swaraj India founder Yogendra Yadav said.

He is referring to the open letter written by 62 celebrities condemning a previous open letter written by 49 other celebrities, in which they requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take cognisance of an increase in lynchings of Dalits, Muslims and other minorities since the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government came to power in 2014.

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The first letter, sent on 23 July, expressed concern that the Hindu chant 'Jai Shri Ram' had become a war cry in India today. Referring to the increase in lynching cases, they said, "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."

These 49 celebrities included people from various fields, including filmmakers Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Aparna Sen, historian Ramchandra Guha, singer Shubha Mudgal and sociologist Ashis Nandy.

Three days after on 26 July, 62 other celebrities condemned the letter in an open letter of their own.

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In this second letter, they have said the first one was nothing more than an attempt to “negatively portray Prime Minister Modi’s untiring efforts to effectuate governance on the foundations of positive nationalism ”and said it was “tarnishing India’s international standing.”

The letter also accuses the signatories of the 23 July letter of compromising India’s integrity in return for freedom of speech and expression.

The celebrities who have signed it are also from different backgrounds. They include lyricist Prasoon Joshi, instrumentalist Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, filmmakers Madhur Bhandarkar, Vivek Agnihotri, classical dancer and MP Sonal Mansingh and many more.

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Topics:  open letter    Yogendra Yadav   Intolerance 

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