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More Than 300 Artists Sign Petition Denouncing Right-Wing Violence in India

More than 300 of India’s best-known artists—as well as artists living around the world—have signed a petition criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to condemn recent attacks by right-wing groups on minorities, reports Scroll. The artists backed a recent decision by writers who returned their state awards. Citing their desire to distance themselves from “a government that encourages marauding outfits to enforce a series of regressive commands in this culturally diverse country,” the artists, in the letter, cited escalating “fatal assaults on ordinary citizens,” linking them to “contemptuous comments about the religious minorities and Dalits made by those within the government.”

The letter also pointed out recent attacks on intellectuals and thinkers, including the unsolved murders of writer and professor MM Kalburgi, left-wing politician Govind Pansare, and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. The petition also read, “We will never forget the battle we fought for our pre-eminent artist M.F. Husain who was hounded out of the country and died in exile.”

The artists who signed include Sudarshan Shetty, Chitra Ganesh, Jitish Kallat, Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher, Sheela Gowda, Atul Dodiya, Anish Kapoor, Shilpa Gupta, Mithu Sen, and Anita Dube, among others. Critics, art historians, curators, and graphic designers were also among the signatories.