A First Information Report (FIR) has been lodged against 49 celebrities who signed an open letter to PM Modi against the increasing cases of mob lynching in the country.

The case was lodged after an order was passed by chief judicial magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari on a petition filed by local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha.

Ojha said nearly 50 people on the letter were named as accused in his petition in which they allegedly “tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the prime minister” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies”.

The open letter to Modi had said that the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately, while stressing that there was “no democracy without dissent”; it also noted that Jai Shri Ram had been reduced to a “provocative war cry”.

The police said Ojha’s FIR was lodged under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those relating to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.

Director Anurag Kashyap

The letter was written by 49 eminent personalities, including filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal, actor Soumitra Chatterjee as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal in July this year.

An FIR is a written document prepared by police in countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan when they receive information about the commission of a cognizable offence and sets the process of criminal justice in motion.