First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against nearly 50 celebrities, including Ramachandra Guha, Mani Ratnam and Aparna Sen, who had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising concerns over the growing incidents of mob killing, in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on Thursday.

The case was lodged after an order was passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate Surya Kant Tiwari two months ago on a petition filed by local advocate Sudhir Kumar Ojha.

“The CJM had passed the order on August 20, accepting my petition upon the receipt of which an FIR was lodged today (Thursday) at the Sadar police station,” Ojha said.

He said nearly 50 signatories of the letter were named as accused in his petition in which they allegedly “tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the Prime Minister” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies.”

The police said the FIR was lodged under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those relating to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.

He said nearly 50 signatories of the letter were named as accused in his petition in which they allegedly “tarnished the image of the country and undermined the impressive performance of the Prime Minister” besides “supporting secessionist tendencies”.

The police said the FIR was lodged under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including those relating to sedition, public nuisance, hurting religious feelings and insulting with an intent to provoke breach of peace.

The letter was written by 49 eminent personalities, including filmmakers Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Shyam Benegal, actor Soumitra Chatterjee as well as vocalist Shubha Mudgal in July this year.

It had said that the mob killing of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities must be stopped immediately, while stressing that there was “no democracy without dissent.” It also noted that “Jai Shri Ram” had been reduced to a “provocative war cry.”

“You have criticised such lynchings in Parliament Mr Prime Minister, but that is not enough! What action has actually been taken against the perpetrators?”

“Ram is sacred for the majority community, stop defiling the name of Ram,” the letter read. The letter also highlighted the significance of dissent in a democracy. “There is no democracy without dissent. People should not be branded anti-national or urban Naxal and incarcerated because of dissent against the government.”