October 25, 2015

Creative & Academic Community Write to The President over Growing Intolerance

The following is the letter written to the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee by the creative and academic community of West Bengal, by all members of PEN International, India, West Bengal Branch, by the creative community of Gujarat and Maharashtra and by many eminent writers.

AS citizens of a democratic country, we are deeply concerned about the growing culture of murderous intolerance and the brazen assault on the fundamental right to life of those who maintain the core values of diversity, plurality and tolerance of which you yourself have recently reminded us. The targeting of innocents like the recent killing of Muhammad Akhlaq in Dadri and the series of attacks against rationalists and freethinkers including the gruesomely casual killing of Narendra Dhabolkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi , has made us strangers in our own country. We are horrified at the callous lack of support and apathy of the State in finding and bringing the culprits to justice. The stifling atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is fatal to the freedom of expression that is at the heart of our shared lives, and it is for the restoration of this common fabric that we urge you to intervene.

On behalf of the freethinking, creative minds of India - indeed, on behalf of every citizen of India - we urge you, the guardian of the Constitution of India, to ensure that those who have infringed upon this founding document of the State with impunity, whether overtly or by silent complicity, be brought to justice. Throttling the right to free thought and expression threatens the very existence of our plural society. We demand your active intervention in protecting the basic freedom which is the right of all Indian citizens without discrimination by religion, caste, class or gender. We appeal to you to take firm and immediate steps to combat this well-planned conspiracy to endanger Indian democracy.