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Indian celebrities protest attacks on dissent, minorities

Posted at 5:03 AM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 08:03:27-04

NEW DELHI (AP) — Dozens of Indian celebrities have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and stop rising incidents of attacks on minorities, misuse of religion by Hindu hard-liners and intolerance against dissent in the country.

In a joint letter of protest to Modi released on Wednesday, the celebrities said critics of his government are being branded anti-national and punished with imprisonment.

The protest comes less than two months after a massive victory by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in national elections, suggesting that his supporters are feeling emboldened by the defeat of opposition parties.

The 49 signatories included Adoor Gopalakrishnan, a filmmaker, Amit Chaudhary, an author, Anuradha Kapoor, a social activist, Ashis Nandy, a socialist, and Jaya Mitra, an environmentalist.

There was no immediate government reaction to the celebrities’ protest.