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Aparna Sen slams FIR against anti-lynch-mob signatories as 'pure harassment'

The filmmaker was one of 49 prominent citizens who signed an open letter to prime minister Narendra Modi. They have all been accused of sedition in an FIR filed in Bihar.

Our Correspondent

Responding to the recent FIR filed against her and 48 others, director Aparna Sen called it 'pure harassment'. The filmmaker, along with the others, has been named in a first information report (FIR) registered at the Sadar police station in Bihar's Muzaffarpur town.

Speaking to The Quint website, Sen said, "This is ridiculous, there is nothing seditious in the letter. These are very strange times. Slowly, our democratic space is being taken away like this. This is pure harassment, it is just harassment and nothing else." 

The FIR has been registered under the Indian Penal Code and cites those who signed an open letter to prime minister Narendra Modi, seeking action against the growing incidence of lynching in parts of India, for sedition, provoking violence and breach of peace.

The case was filed by lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha and registered by the police on the basis of an order issued by Muzaffarpur chief judicial magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari.

The Press Trust of India news agency quoted Ojha as saying, "The CJM passed the order on 20 August, accepting my petition upon the receipt of which an FIR was lodged today at the Sadar police station here." 

Responding to the case, Sen told The Quint, "This person, Sudhir Ojha, has a habit of filing cases [against celebrities]. This will go to the Patna high court after this and hopefully be quashed there. I don’t know who is doing this, I don’t think the government is behind this. They wouldn’t be silly enough to do something like this." 

Ojha has previously filed cases against former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, and film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, among others. 

Among those who signed the open letter with Sen were historian Ramchandra Guha, filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Mani Ratnam, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Anurag Kashyap, political sociologist Ashis Nandy, and artistes Konkona Sensharma, Soumitra Chatterjee and Parambrata Chatterjee.

The open letter urged prime minister Modi to step in and take serious action against the growing incidents of mob lynching taking place around the country. The letter also appealed to him to acknowledge the growing tendency to stifle contrarian thought and expression in the country.