Fourteen personalities on Monday joined 62 others in condemning an open letter signed by 49 artistes against incidents of mob lynchings and intolerance. In their counter-statement, the signatories expressed their disagreement with the open letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adding that such statements cause an adverse effect on the harmonious atmosphere of the country.
Seven of the 14 personalities, who have issued the statement, are from Gujarat. They include Padma Shri historian Vishnu Pandya, former Vice-Chancellors of Saurashtra University Kamlesh Joshipura and Kalpak Trivedi, Padma Shri cancer surgeon Devendra Patel, senior journalist Tarun Dattani, media academician Shirish Kashikar and danseuse Smita Shastri.
The other seven persons on the list are Gastroenterologist Dr Chandrashekhar from Chennai, former Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University A D N Bajpai, Vice-Chancellor of Chennai-based Vinayak Mission University V R Rajendran, gynecologist from Varanasi Shipra Dhar, gastroenterologist Hemant Gupta from Varanasi, lawyer from Allahabad High Court Rajendra Pande and senior lawyer at Delhi High Court R P Luthra.
Vishnu Pandya confirmed that they have issued the statement adding that they may do some meeting of like-minded people on the issue in future.
Quoting the 14 personalities, the statement has termed the letter of the 49 artistes as an attempt to vitiate the atmosphere of peace and harmony in the country.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly expressed concern over the incidents of mob lynchings. The Central Government has also especially asked the state governments to make sure that such incidents do not happen. In such a situation, we clearly believe that it is necessary that intellectuals and artistes come out of negative mentality, read the statement.
It added that the statement made by the intellectuals on mob lynchings and intolerance is biased, intentionally lacking in facts and delivered only to appease a particular section of the society. We express our complete disagreement with such a statement, read the statement released from Ahmedabad.
The statement also stated that the ideas of these people, who make statements in the name of mob lynchings, have got a befitting reply from the people of the country in the form of a massive (electoral) mandate.
It is natural that people are at the centre of a democracy. These intellectual friends, instead of creating an atmosphere of social harmony, are trying to vitiate the constructive and socially passionate atmosphere prevailing in the country by keeping aside wholesome and true facts, which no awakened citizen can tolerate, read the statement.
The 14 personalities have added that such statements of the intellectuals give rise to pision and prejudices in the society, hurt the prevailing sentiments of unity from which some foreign elements get support. We not only disagree, but also strongly condemn such statements while supporting the current government s policy of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas , the statement read.