The writers say that “hate politics has been used to divide the country, create fear, and exclude more and more people from living as full-fledged citizens”.
Anyone who “questions the powers-that-be”, adds the writers, is in danger of being harassed or arrested on “false and ridiculous charges”.
The writers have asked people to vote out inequality and vote against violence, intimidation and censorship. They don’t want rationalists, writers and activists to be “hounded or assassinated”, the appeal says.
Teltumbde has been accused of being a member of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and associated with a Dalit platform Elgar, which the police believe, triggered violence in the Bhima Koregaon area of Maharashtra last year.
The appeal has been issued in several languages, including Gujarati, Bangla, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Telugu.
This comes just days after around 100 filmmakers issued a letter, asking people to vote the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power. The filmmakers who signed the appeal include Anand Patwardhan, Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, Sudevan, Q, Deepa Dhanraj and Gurvinder Singh.
The filmmakers said that ever since the BJP came to power, things have changed only for the worse. The statement also said that giving the BJP another term will be a “grave blunder”.