Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Saturday that the Centre has not filed any case against 49 eminent individuals who wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against mob lynchings in the country, ANI reported. A lawyer from Bihar had filed a complaint against the 49 individuals. On Friday, the police booked all 49 individuals on charges of sedition.

“Government has not registered any case,” Javadekar said on Saturday. “One person approached the court and the court has directed its orders. We haven’t done anything in this regard.” The 49 personalities included historian Ramchandra Guha, actor Konkana Sen Sharma, and filmmakers Mani Ratnam and Aparna Sen, among others.

In their letter to Modi in July the public figures claimed that the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan had become a “provocative war cry” and the reason for a number of lynchings. Now, they have been accused of tarnishing “the image of the country”, and undermining “the impressive performance of the prime minister” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies”.

According to unidentified police officials, the FIR was lodged in Muzaffarpur district under Indian Penal Code sections related to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace. The charges were reportedly registered after an order by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari, who ruled on a petition filed by advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha.

On Friday, filmmaker Adoor Gopalkrishnan, who is one of the 49 individuals, urged the Centre to enact a new law to stop mob killings. He said that any “responsible government” would have taken action on the matter.

“The court of law can take up a case based on the letter to the prime minister,” Gopalkrishnan said. “Very responsible citizens have written this letter and people who visualise the nation as a democracy where you have space for plural opinions. Just because the opinions expressed do not fall in line with the government does not mean they are against the nation.”

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