Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui (Image: Twitter/@munawar0018)
Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, who was arrested for alleged objectionable remarks against Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah at a show, made no such jokes, claims a report citing superintendent of police Vijay Khatri.
Faruqui, 28, was arrested along with four others by Indore police midway during a show held at a cafe in 56 Dukan area of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, on January 1. The other arrested persons were identified as Nalin Yadav, Edwin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, and Priyam Vyas. One more person was arrested later for taking part in the programme, police had said.
The complaint was filed against them by Eklavya Singh Gaur (36), son of local BJP legislator Malini Laxman Singh Gaur.
According to a report by Article 14, the SP said that the police had “oral evidence” of allegations made against Faruqui. There is no video evidence of Faruqui having made the alleged remarks at the show.
A complainant’s claim that he overheard rehearsal jokes that Fariqui was “going to” make, said Khatri and praised the vigilantes for being “active and alert”, as per the report.
As per the report, Faruqui and the others have been imprisoned on the basis of the statement of a Hindu vigilante who has provided no evidence to back his claim, the report stated.
However, “it didn’t really matter” if Faruqui had not made the comments on the basis of which he was arrested, said the report citing the SP.
The police were told by the complainants that when the comedians were rehearsing before the show, they were “cracking jokes about Ram, Shivji,” Khatri was quoted as saying. This indicated their intent that they were going to joke about Hindu gods, he added.
Police had booked five accused under sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), section 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
All the accused have been denied bail and imprisoned for nearly two weeks.(With inputs from PTI