Fourteen noted personalities on Monday joined sixty-two 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 PM 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 & Kalpak Trivedi, Padma Shri cancer surgeon Devendra Patel, senior journalist Tarun Dattani, media academician Shirish Kashikar and noted danseuse Smita Shastri.
The other seven persons on the list are noted Gastroenterologist Dr Chandrashekhar from Chennai, former Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh University ADN Bajpai, Vice-Chancellor of Chennai-based Vinayak Mission University V R Rajendran, noted gynaecologist from Varanasi Shipra Dhar, noted gastroenterologist from Varanasi Hemant Gupta, leading 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 12 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 to ensure that the incidents of mob lynchings do not occur. The Central Government has also specially asked 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 noted 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 democracy. Having a completely biased mentality, 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 12 personalities have added that such statements of the intellectuals increase pision and prejudices in the society, hurt the prevailing sentiments of unity from which some foreign elements get support. In such a situation, we not only disagree but also strongly condemn such statements while supporting the current government’s policy of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’, concluded the statement.
Flagging concern over the alleged rise in mob lynching incidents against minorities, 49 eminent personalities from various fields have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, stressing that such incidents should be stopped immediately. They also regretted that Jai Shri Ram has been reduced to a provocative war cry .
A day later, several members of the film industry and other media issued a counter to it. The 62 signatories include lyricist and CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi, actor Kangana Ranaut, dancer Sonal Mansingh and musician Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.