Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh High Court on its Thursday hearing rejected the bail petition of comedian Munawar Faruqui who was arrested on January 2, after the complaints were lodged against him for allegedly hurting Hindu religious sentiments and disrespecting Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a comedy show in Indore.
This is the third bail plea and the first in MP’s High Court in regards with this matter. It had initially been listed for hearing on January 15 but was adjourned by two weeks as the police had not reportedly submitted the case diary.
The 29-year-old comedian with at least five others, is accused of hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community by cracking some jokes about Hindu Gods and deities. The complaint was filed by Eklavya Singh Gaur, the chief of a local Hindutva outfit, who is also the son of Bharatiya Janata Party’s MLA Malini Gaur.
Gaur had also allegedly created a ruckus at Faruqui’s show in Indore that had led to Munawar’s arrest a day after he was detained from the city’s Monroe Cafe. The accused, on the other hand, claimed in his bail plea that he had not made any statements as alleged in the criminal complaint against him.
The Indore bench of the court said the evidence collected so far suggested that “outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India with deliberate intendment” were made by the applicants. “The evidence/material collected so far, suggest that in an organized public show under the garb of standup comedy at a public place on commercial lines, prima facie; scurrilous, disparaging utterances, outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India with deliberate intendment, were made by the applicants.”
While dismissing the bail applications, the high court observed: “There is also a specific assertion by the learned counsel for the complainant that the applicant along with other co-accused persons allegedly making outraging filthy jokes in social media deliberately against Hindu Gods, Lord Shriram and Goddess Sita hurting religious sentiments of Hindus for the last 18 months despite, protest on various social media platforms. There is nothing on record to the contrary.”
Meanwhile, Faruqui’s arrest was called out by many fellow comedians and actors, who demanded his release. Whereas, the Indore Town Inspector (Tukaganj Police Station), Kamlesh Sharma, had earlier said that there was no evidence against the comedian, as per reports.
Munawar and five others were booked under various Sections; 295-A (outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings), 269 (negligent act likely to cause spread of disease), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).