RJD leader urges Nitish to get sedition case against
RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary on Saturday sought Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's intervention and annulment of the sedition case against 49 well known personalities who had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put a check on the growing incidence of mob lynching. An FIR was lodged on Thursday at Muzaffarpur in Bihar for alleged sedition against the personalities who included Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen, Mani Ratnam, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Soumitra Chatterjee, Shubha Mudgal and Ramchandra Guha.
The FIR has been lodged following the direction of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Muzaffarpur, on the petition of a local lawyer. Tiwary, who was formerly with the JD(U) headed by the chief minister, said in a statement here that those named in the FIR included historian Ramachandra Guha who had raved about Kumar as a leader fit to become the prime minister.
"It is ironical that Guha finds himself booked for sedition in the very state ruled by Kumar. I would urge Kumar to seek legal opinion and get the case annulled," he said. Guha had expressed his sentiment about Kumar nearly a decade ago. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections that followed the historian's comment, the NDA won handsomely in Bihar despite the BJP-led coalition putting up a less than impressive performance across the country.
Later, after Kumar forged a Grand Alliance with his arch-rival Lalu Prasad's RJD and the Congress, and led the newly-formed coalition to a huge victory in 2015 assembly polls against the NDA, Guha saw in the chief minister the potential to lead a nationwide anti-BJP front and suggested, quixotically, that he be allowed to head the Congress. The JD(U) chief, however, was back in the NDA by July, 2017 when he quit the Grand Alliance expressing disgust over money laundering cases against Prasad's younger son Tejashwi Yadav whom he had appointed his deputy.
Tiwary also pointed out that those named in the FIR, besides Guha, "included famous personalities like acclaimed filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, Mani Ratnam and singer Shubha Mudgal". He said freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Constitution and these people exercised that by writing the letter.
The letter had said that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately, while stressing there was "no democracy without dissent". It also noted that the 'Jai Shri Ram' slogan was reduced to a "provocative war cry". The FIR was lodged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those related to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace..
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