Muzaffarpur: The Bihar police on Wednesday ordered the closure of a sedition case lodged against 49 acclaimed artists and intellectuals, including Ramachandra Guha, Mani Ratnam and Aparna Sen, who wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year seeking his intervention in the rising incidents of mob lynchings.
Muzaffarpur SSP Manoj Kumar Sinha said he had ordered that the case be closed as the investigation had so far revealed that the allegations levelled against the accused were out of “mischief” and “lacked substance”.
The FIR was lodged at the Sadar police station last week upon the order of the chief judicial magistrate which had forwarded a petition filed by local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha.
According to Ojha, the accused “tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the Prime Minister” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies”. Ojha is known as serial litigant and was recently in the news for filing cases against Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Delhi chief minster Arvind Kejriwal.
NDTV reported that Ojha is known to be linked to Ramvilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party.
According to a recent statement issued by 185 cultural and literary personalities condemning the case, the FIR was lodged against the 49 “colleagues in the cultural community simply because they performed their duty as respected members of civil society”.
“They wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, expressing concern about mob lynching in our country. Can this be called an act of sedition? Or is harassment by misusing the courts a ploy to silence citizens’ voices?” the signatories said.
“This is why we share their letter here once again, and appeal to the cultural, academic and legal communities to do the same. This is why more of us will speak every day. Against mob lynching. Against the silencing of people’s voices. Against the misuse of courts to harass citizens.”
(With inputs from PTI)