Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui and four others were arrested in Indore on January 1 for allegedly insulting religious sentiments of Hindus and not following COVID-19 protocols. An FIR has been registered against Faruqui and group by the Tukoganj Police Station on the basis of a complaint filed by Eklavya Gaur, son of four-time BJP MLA Malini Gaur.
Faruqui, along with Edwin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas and Nalin Yadav, has been booked under Sections 295A (intent to outrage religious feelings), 298 (Uttering words to wound religious feelings), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant) and 34 (criminal acts done by several people to further a common intention) of the IPC.
In his complaint, Gaur claimed that Faruqui cracked jokes on Hindu Gods, made fun of the Godhra riots and mocked Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Gaur also claimed that the cafe did not have the necessary permissions to host an event and that social distancing protocols were not followed at the venue.
Is there a case against Faruqui?
Town Inspector of Tukaganj Police Station Kamlesh Sharma has since stated that there is no video of Faruqui as alleged by Gaur. "There's no evidence against him for insulting Hindu deities or Union Minister Amit Shah," he told Indian Express. Sharma also said that Faruqui is being held in custody on account of being the organiser. The content of the videos submitted by Gaur to the police remains unclear. Calls and messages to Sharma and Gaur went unanswered.
A fan who was at the show also claimed that Gaur went on the stage even before Faruqui began his set. Jenosha Agnes took to Instagram to state that Gaur confronted Faruqui with the latter apologizing for offending anyone. Agnes also claimed that Faruqui's jokes were not derogatory and did not target any religion. The video of the encounter has gone viral on social media.
Faruqui's lawyer has claimed that the comic is being wrongfully accused. Ashhar Warsi of the Indian Civil Liberties Union told BOOM that since the police has not found any evidence that Faruqui hurt religious sentiments, there is no case against him.
Warsi also claimed that Faruqui has been falsely charged under Sections 269 and 188 of the IPC as he was only a perfomer who was invited by the organisers.
"Munawar is not an organiser of the event. The organiser and the cafe owner should be liable under sections 269 and 188 because they have to take permissions and ensure social distancing is maintained," Warsi said.
Sections 269 and 188 have been invoked against Faruqui in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaur had alleged that no permissions were sought to hold the event and social distancing protocols were not adhered to.
Faruqui's bail petition hearing is scheduled to be held on January 5. An FIR had been earlier filed against Faruqui in April 2020 for making jokes featuring the Hindu Gods Ram and Sita.The comedian had apologised then apologised for any offence caused by his jokes.
Updated On: 2021-10-28T16:50:26+05:30