New Delhi: Stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui said he and his organisers had decided to call off his show, which was to take place on Sunday, in Delhi due to “threats” that they had received for the last few days.
His statement announcing cancellation of the show came after the Delhi Police said Saturday that it had denied permission to Munawar to hold his comedy show citing risk to communal harmony.
“We had cancelled the show on our own two days back because of the threats. We didn’t publicly announce it, but everyone who was coming to the show was informed about the cancellation. It was because of the threat and how our one to three shows in Mumbai and Bengaluru were cancelled. And there was a threat on this show as well so we took this decision,” Munawar told ThePrint.
Last Saturday, Munawar held a show amid tight security after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had called for a boycott of that event as well. On Tuesday, BJP MLA T. Raja Singh was arrested by the Hyderabad police for allegedly making objectionable comments while taking a dig at Munawar.
The Delhi show was to take place at Dr SPM Civic Centre from 2 pm to 9.30 pm. It was a privately organised programme for which permission was reportedly given earlier, according to Hindustan Times.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Central District, Shweta Chauhan said that the show was cancelled and that the permission was denied for security reasons. “Organisers have been informed that the show will not be held. If they go ahead, legal action will be taken,” she said. “It was to ensure that there shouldn’t be any threat to law and order and communal harmony doesn’t turn into disharmony.”
On Thursday, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had written to the Delhi Police urging it to cancel the event. The outfit had also warned of protests by its workers and those of the Bajrang Dal.
In his letter to Delhi Police Commissioner Sanjay Arora, VHP Delhi president Surendra Kumar Gupta had blamed Munawar for the recent clash in Hyderabad. “Communal tension arose in Bhagya Nagar because of Munawar’s jokes on Hindu Gods. We would like to request you to kindly get the show cancelled,” Gupta had stated.
There have been several times when the stand-up comic expressed disappointment at his shows being cancelled due to threats from the Right-wing groups.
In November last year, at least 12 of his shows were cancelled within two months. He had written a long social media post about how it was “unfair” when his Bengaluru show was scrapped even after selling more than 600 tickets because of the threats
He had termed the developments as the victory of hate back then. “Nafrat jeet gayi, artist haar gaya. (My name is Munawar Faruqui. And that’s been my time) You guys were (a) wonderful audience. Goodbye, I’m done,” he said in an instagram post.