Patna: Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Wednesday asserted that BJP had "nothing to do" with a sedition case lodged in Muzaffarpur district against nearly 50 renowned actors, filmmakers and intellectuals who had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the rising incidence of mob lynching.
In a statement issued here, Modi noted with dismay that the FIR was lodged upon the complaint of a "serial litigant" from the north Bihar town, who has filed countless petitions against well-known personalities "including myself".
He charged the "award wapasi and tukde tukde gangs" with using the incident to allege that the Narendra Modi government at the Centre was against the right to freedom of expression.
"He is a serial litigant who has filed 715 PILs, besides petitions against well-known personalities like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and actors Amitabh Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. He had even filed a case against me four years ago", Modi said without referring to the Muzaffarpur-based advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha by name.
"The serial litigant got an FIR lodged against 49 celebrities merely on the basis of newspaper reports and among other sections of IPC the one for sedition was also added", the Deputy CM said referring to the FIR that has been registered at Sadar police station of Muzaffarpur following an order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate before whose court Ojha had filed his petition in July.
In the petition, Ojha had named film makers like Shyam Benegal, Anurag Kashyap, Mani Ratnam and Adoor Gopalakrishnan besides actors Revathi, Aparna Sen and Soumitra Chatterjee and historian Ramachandra Guha among the accused while Bollywood celebrities Kangana Ranaut, Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri among "witnesses".
"The BJP has nothing to do with the litigation nor does the Sangh Parivar. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has made it clear, time and again, that the Sangh is against any type of mob violence. Despite clarifications from him as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, the so-called intellectuals want to give importance to a serial litigant", Modi alleged.
"The award wapasi and tukde tukde gangs are at it again. They are simply making use of the latest litigation by a serial litigant to paint the current regime as one that was throttling freedom of expression", Modi lamented.
Notably, barely a few days after the FIR was lodged at Muzaffarpur on October 03 last, close to 200 renowned personalities including historian Romila Thapar, actor Naseeruddin Shah, Booker prize shortlisted author Jeet Thayil and activist Harsh Mander came out with an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister, in protest.