Kolkata:  Close on the heels of 49 eminent personalities wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the alleged rise in hate crimes across the country, actor-turned-Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan on Thursday penned an open letter highlighting the same issue. (Also read: ‘I Represent Inclusive India,’ Says Nusrat Jahan)

Lauding members of the civil society for raising the issue of ‘human life’ when roads and development are considered worth discussing, she said, “I have a lot of hope on my fellow citizens to raise voices & do our bit.”

“Hate crimes and mob lynchings are on a steep rise in our country. The 2014-2019 (period) has the most hate crimes against Muslims, Dalits and minorities to its credit. 2019 has witnessed more than 11 hate crimes and 4 deaths, and they are all minorities and the suppressed,” the letter said, exuding hope that her fellow citizens would raise their voice against it.

“The government’s selective silence and inaction in this regard has hit us hard,” she wrote. “Injustice in our country has various names, including Tabrez Ansari, Mohd Ikhlaq and Pehlu Khan.”

All the names she quoted were victims of mob lynching. Mohd Ikhlaq was killed by a mob of villagers in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri four years ago on suspicion of cow slaughter. Likewise, Pehlu Khan was beaten up by cow vigilantes while he was transporting cattle along the Delhi-Alwar highway in 2017. The latest victim, 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari, was killed in Jharkhand recently by a mob that kept asking him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”.

Nusrat also made it a point to raise the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan issue. “Lynch mobs have actually turned the Lord’s name into a murder cry. Mob lynching criminals are nothing but enemies of our country,” she said, urging the Centre to frame a law aimed at curbing such “assaults on democracy”.

Ending the note with a line from Sare Jahan Se Achchha, she said, “Mazhab nahi sikhata, Aapas mein bair rakhna (No religion teaches ill-will).”

The letter by the 49 personalities, including filmmaker Aparna Sen, historian Ramachandra Guha and noted director Mani Ratnam, had demanded action from the Centre against those indulging in mob killings. Later, at a press conference, Sen had said that they were opposed to lynching per se – be it of Hindus or Muslims.