Thiruvananthapuram: Expressing concern over FIR against 49 ‘concerned Indian citizens’ who wrote a letter to PM Modi highlighting the rise of mob lynching in the country, Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister and said that he must break his silence, which is being misinterpreted by cow vigilantes.
“What prompted this letter is particularly the recent FIR against 49 artists and intellectuals. There have been incidents after incidents for quite a while now. There has been mounting concern about the state of expression in our country. Now, the point is reached where many of us feel that the Prime Minister must break his silence and say something,” he told reporters here.
“On cow vigilantism and mob lynching, we have been consistently saying that the Prime Minister’s silence is misinterpreted as something that emboldens people who are attacking others with impunity. On a subject like this, for a Prime Minister to send a signal to the nation that he stands with freedom of expression. He once had said that Constitution is his holy book,” Tharoor said.
Earlier in the day, he wrote a letter to him expressing concern over the filing of FIR against 49 ‘concerned Indian citizens’ who wrote a letter to PM Modi highlighting the rise of mob lynching in the country.
The Congress leader the atmosphere in the country is “deeply troubling”.
“Nobody is accusing the Prime Minister of having filed this case. It was the CJM in a small town in Bihar who gave the order to police to file the FIR. But the fact is these things are happening is a reflection of a couple of things. The atmosphere in the country is deeply troubling for many of us. There are a couple of cases against me for the things I have said,” he said.
Tharoor said that one should be free to criticise the government in a democracy.
“In a democracy, one should be free to criticize the government, the Prime Minister and specific policies without an entire shadow being cast that what you are saying is anti-national. We are all patriots. But we have a different view on what is good for the country than theirs. The part of democratic spirit is right to express a different view,” he said.
“Mr. Modi used that right extensively in the two years before he became the Prime Minister. Count his number of tweets and attacks on the Congress government. It was fully his democratic right. He cannot deny to us a right that he and his party enjoyed legitimately in a democratic system,” the Congress leader added.
Commenting on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remark that lynching is a foreign concept, Tharoor said: “The word ‘lynching’ happens to come from the West. But the action of a mob attacking an individual without a trial and process and beating him often to death. You call it by any other name. But it is a horrible thing to do.”