New Delhi: 185 celebrities, including authors, actors and dancers, on Monday, came out in support of 49 celebrities, who, on Friday, were charged with ‘sedition’ for writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to take note of and act on incidents of mob lynching across the country.

In their letter, the 49 celebrities had said that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ had become a ‘war cry’ today.

Coming out in their support on Monday, the 185 celebrities, in a statement, said, “An FIR has been lodged against 49 of our colleagues in the cultural community, simply because they performed their duty as respected members of the civil society. They wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister, expressing concern about mob lynching in our country. Can this be called an act of sedition? Or is harassment by misusing the courts a ploy to silence citizens’ voices?”

The statement further endorsed ‘every word’ of the earlier letter written to the Prime Minister.

It further said, “This is why we share their letter here once again and appeal to the cultural, academic and legal communities to do the same. This is why more of us will speak every day against mob lynching and silencing of people’s voices.”

The signatories include, among others, names like actors Naseeruddin Shah, dancer Mallika Sarabhai, author Nayantara Sehgal and historian Romila Thapar, who was recently in the eye of the storm after she was asked by JNU to submit her CV to continue as a professor emerita there.

The development comes just a day after the Bihar Police clarified that the FIR against the 49 eminent personalities was on the basis of a court order.

The case against them was filed in a Muzaffarpur court by a local advocate who accused them of tarnishing the image of the Prime Minister, just three days after they wrote the letter.