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After members of the film fraternity appealed to the people of India last week to “oust the BJP from power,” more than 200 writers have come forward urging citizens “to vote out hate-politics and vote for an equal and diverse India”.
The statement released on Indian Cultural Forum read:
“Our Constitution guarantees all its citizens equal rights, the freedom to eat, pray and live as they choose, freedom of expression and the right to dissent. But in the last few years, we have seen citizens being lynched or assaulted or discriminated against because of their community, caste, gender, or the region they come from. Hate politics has been used to divide the country; create fear; and exclude more and more people from living as full-fledged citizens. Writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and other cultural practitioners have been hounded, intimidated, and censored. Anyone who questions the powers-that-be is in danger of being harassed or arrested on false and ridiculous charges.”
Calling out for a change, the writers advocated “strong measures against violence in word or deed against women, Dalits, Adivasis and minority communities”.
Most of all, it said that “we want to safeguard our diversity and let democracy flourish”.
The statement has been signed by over 200 writers from across India with names such as Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Jerry Pinto, Romila Thapar and Girish Karnad as part of it.
Without naming anyone in particular or mentioning specific instances, the appeal lastly said, ” The first step, the one we can take soon, is to vote out hate politics. Vote out the division of our people; vote out inequality; vote against violence, intimidation and censorship. This is the only way we can vote for an India that renews the promises made by our Constitution. This is why we appeal to all citizens to vote for a diverse and equal India.”