Muzaffarpur: A petition was on Saturday filed in a Bihar court against 49 eminent citizens, who had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over lynching of minorities and hate crimes, seeking slapping of sedition and other charges.

Petitioner Sudhir Kumar Ojha alleged that the 49 signatories to the letter had, by their act “tarnished the image of the country and undermining the impressive performance of the Prime Minister” and also charged them with “supporting secessionist tendencies”. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on August 3. (Also Read: Days After Open Letter to PM Modi on Mob Lynching, 61 Celebs Question ‘Selective Outrage’, ‘False Narratives’)

Ojha also named actress Kangana Ranaut and directors Madhur Bhandarkar and Vivek Agnihotri, who were among 61 high-profile personalities to counter the letter, as “witnesses”.

On July 23, Anurag Kashyap, Konkana Sen Sharma, Ramchandra Guha, Mani Ratnam, Ashis Nandy, Shubha Mudgal were among the eminent filmmakers, historians, sociologists, artists who had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing their concerns over growing cases of lynchings and suppression of dissent.

The 49 eminent personalities had said in their letter that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has become a provocative ‘war cry’ today that leads to law and order problems, and many lynchings take place in its name. “We were shocked to learn from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports that there have been no less than 840 instances of atrocities against Dalits in the year 2016, and a definite decline in the percentage of convictions,” the letter read. Further, they also asked the Prime Minister to put a stop to the name of Ram being defiled in this manner.

The letter was responded to by other 61 personalities, including lyricist Prasoon Joshi, actor Kangana Ranaut, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar on Friday, who penned an open letter countering the claim of the previous lot. In the letter, the celebrities spoke against ‘selective outrage and false narratives’ shown by “49 self-styled guardians”.

“Forty-nine self-styled “guardians” and “conscience keepers” of the nation and of democratic values have once again expressed selective concern and demonstrated clear political bias and motive,” the letter read.