New Delhi: An FIR was lodged on Thursday against 49 noted personalities, including historian Ramchandra Guha, Mani Ratnam, Aparna Sen and Shyam Benengal, who had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July raising concern over the growing incidents of mob lynching.
Behind the FIR is a Muzaffarpur-based advocate, Sudhir Kumar Ojha, who claims to have filed as many as 745 PILs since he started his law practice in 1996. "The CJM had passed the order on August 20, accepting my petition upon the receipt of which an FIR was lodged today at the Sadar police station here," Ojha said.
Fifty-year-old Ojha has a track record of taking the celebrities to court over issues like advertisements of "hazardous junk food" and smooch scenes in Bollywood films. In 2007, Ojha had filed a PIL against the makers of film Dhoom 2 for a kissing scene, while 2013, he had filed a PIL against Amitabh Bachchan for promoting Maggi, which he said was hazardous to health.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, MNS chief Raj Thackeray are among those against whom Ojha has filed PILs.
Ojha said he had no objections to the celebrities writing letter to the prime minister. “But by getting it published in the media, they deliberately tried to tarnish the image of the PM and the country,” he was quoted as saying by The Print.
He also accused them of undermining the “impressive performance of the prime minister" besides "supporting secessionist tendencies".
According to police, the 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.
In July this year, 49 noted personalities, including filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam, actor Konkona Sen Mitra, historian Ramachandra Guha, had written to PM Modi raising the issue of mob lynching and had said the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped and had said there was "no democracy without dissent".The letter also noted that the 'Jai Shri Ram' slogan was reduced to a "provocative war cry".