New Delhi: Sixty-one eminent personalities, including lyricist Prasoon Joshi, actor Kangana Ranaut, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar on Friday penned an open letter countering claims of 49 big names who expressed their concern over rising cases of mob lynching three days ago.

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.

Bashing the award-winning filmmakers Aparna Sen and Mani Ratnam, and historian Ramachandra Guha and others alike, the signatories to this letter said that they “attempted to foist a false narrative with the intention of denigrating the democratic ethos and norms of our collective functioning as a nation and people”.

“It is aimed at tarnishing India’s international standing and to negatively portray Prime Minister Modi’s untiring efforts to effectuate governance on the foundations of positive nationalism and humanism which is the core of Indianness,” the letter continued.

“The signatories to the ‘open letter’ have, in the past, kept silent when tribals and the marginalised have become victims of Naxal terror, they have kept silent when separatists have issued dictates to burn schools in Kashmir, they have kept silent when the demand for dismembering India, for making pieces of her – Tukde Tukde – were made…” it said.

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.

Read the entire letter here:

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.

In a recent yet incident of mob attack which took place last month, a 24-year-old Muslim man died after he was brutally thrashed and made to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram‘ on suspicion of stealing a motorbike. The incident happened on June 18, at the border of Seraikela-Kharsawan and East Singhbhum districts of Jharkhand. The victim, identified as Shams Tabrez, was reportedly tied to a pole by a mob and then abused both physically and verbally for over seven hours. The family members of the victim had alleged that the mob forced Tabrez to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram‘ and ‘Jai Hanuman’ before he was handed over to the police. A video of the incident also did rounds on social media.