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‘Wanted to catch serial offender Munawar in action’ — how comedian’s arrest was ‘planned’ in MP

Complainant Aklavya Singh Gaur, who heads an organisation called Hind Rakshak Sangathan, says Munawar Faruqui insulted Hindu deities. It’s a charge the comedian denies.

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Indore/Delhi: The arrest of comedian Munawar Faruqui in Indore for allegedly making indecent remarks against Hindu deities was the result of an “elaborate plan” by the Hind Rakshak Sangathan (HRS) that wanted to “catch him in action”, Aklavya Singh Gaur, the chief of the Indore-based organisation and son of BJP MLA Malini Gaur, has told ThePrint.

Set up in 1996 by Aklavya’s father, the late Madhya Pradesh minister Laxman Singh Gaur, the HRS describes itself as an organisation dedicated to protecting the nation, religion, and culture.

Aklavya, who claims to be a member of the BJP youth wing, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), is the complainant in the case that led to the arrest of Faruqui and four other stand-up comedians on 1 January for allegedly insulting Hindu deities and others. 

The jokes were allegedly cracked at a New Year event at Cafe Munroe in Indore’s 56 Dukan area. 

While Aklavya claims Faruqui made indecent remarks against Hindu deities, Union Minister Amit Shah, and the Gujarat riots, the comedian denies the charge. 

Faruqui has filed a petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court to challenge a trial courts 5 January order refusing him bail. The matter is listed for hearing Friday before the Indore bench of the high court, with Congress MP Vivek Tankha likely to argue for him.

He has challenged the FIR against him on three grounds, including that he never even got a chance to perform at the event.


Also Read: MP Police arrest comedian Munawar Faruqui and 5 others for ‘indecent’ remarks on Hindu deities


‘Serial offender’

Speaking to ThePrint, Gaur described Faruqui as a “serial offender”. He said he learnt about the New Year event beforehand and, along with a few others, decided to attend it as audience.

“He is a serial offender. This time, too, he made indecent comments against Hindu deities,” he added. 

“We had got to know about the event beforehand and five-six of us decided to attend it as audience to catch him in action. We made a video of the event wherein stand-up comedian Faruqui, as expected, made indecent remarks against Hindu deities, Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He dragged Godhra riots in it, too,” he said, adding that he has submitted video footage of the event to police.

“Earlier, too, he had made fun of kar sevaks who died (in the Godhra train fire),” he said.


Also Read: No laughing matter — all the comedians who got into trouble for trying to be funny


‘He never performed there’

The FIR against Faruqui, which has been accessed by ThePrint, invokes IPC sections dealing with hurting religious sentiments, and violating orders issued by a public authority (in connection with Covid-19 restrictions). 

Among other things, he has been accused of displaying a condom, which the FIR describes as an “objectionable commodity”, in “public before an audience comprising women and children”.

The FIR also refers to footage that shows “Faruqui making fun of Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Goddess Parvati”.

Police have booked the five comedians as organisers of the event.

In his petition before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Faruqui has said he never uttered the lines mentioned in the FIR. He has raised a three-fold challenge to the case against him. 

His lawyer Anshuman Srivastava told ThePrint that police have not scrutinised the video of the event because Faruqui never got a chance to perform there.  

“Before he could speak, Gaur and his men stopped him and the video proves this fact. Also, he was trying to convince Gaur that he had not said anything to hurt the sentiments of the audience present there,” Srivastava said. 

Gaur is believed to have referred to an earlier incident where Faruqui made remarks against Hindu deity Ram. In response to this, Faruqui told Gaur that he had apologised for the incident, a video of which was posted on his YouTube channel, the lawyer said.

The second ground for seeking bail is that the petitioners claim charges under Section 295A of IPC — “Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs” — are not made out. 

“There are no specific allegations mentioned in the FIR, such as what was the expression used or words spoken, to show that the charges fall within the basic ingredients of the penal provision,” said the lawyer.

Also, under Section 295A, there should be deliberate intention on the part of the accused to commit the crime, he added. 

Faruqui, Srivastava said, never planned the show nor had any intention to insult anyone. The crowd was present there voluntarily and it was not a gathering at his instance, he added.

The third ground is that charges of violating an order by a public servant have been added beyond jurisdiction. 

“Faruqui was not the organiser, therefore, he was not responsible for holding the event. Even if it is presumed that there was a breach of Covid-19 protocols, then there should have been a common FIR against all those present there as well as the owner of the place where the event took place,” Srivastava said.

According to Faruqui’s petition, which has been accessed by ThePrint, the charge of violating Covid-19 protocols against the five comedians does not hold ground because the accused were not the organisers of the event, but participated in the show as artistes. 

According to the law, police should have booked the owner of the place where the event took place, which reportedly has not been done, Faruqui’s lawyer said.  

Police say have ‘all the evidence’

Countering Faruqui’s lawyer, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Indore, Harinarayan Chari Mishra, said: “All the five organisers, which includes Faruqui and others, have been booked for their collective involvement. Once we will come to the stage of filing the chargesheet, we will then look at the individual role of each of them and accordingly fix responsibility.”

Indore Superintendent of Police (SP) Vijay Khatri also denied the allegations made by Faruqui’s lawyer, saying police have all the evidence. 

“Fake news is being spread that we don’t have evidence against them. We have all the evidence, which we will present to the court and not to the media. It is for the court to decide whether it is satisfied by that evidence or not,” he said. 

“Some indecent comments against Hindu deities, jokes were cracked. We arrested the organisers, those who cracked the jokes, and those who were scheduled to perform,” he added. 

Police, he said, had got a call from the audience that a ruckus was being created and it was a law-and-order situation in the cafe. 

“We, in fact, saved these men (Faruqui and the others). Hind Rakashak Sanghathan’s Aklavya Singh Gaur has filed a complaint and submitted video footage, too, which is being examined,” Khatri said. 

Referring to the charges about Covid-19 protocol violations, he added that no permission was taken by the organiser for the event despite the fact that Section 144 was in place in light of the pandemic.

Asked about the fact that the cafe owner has not been booked for breaking Covid-19 protocol, sources in MP Police said the probe in the case is still on. “If there is any evidence found, we shall take action accordingly,” a senior police officer said, refusing to be named.

Also Read: India’s standup comics need quick wit, quicker legs and lawyer on speed dial: Neeti Palta


 

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32 COMMENTS

  1. The idea that any individual from any country can be jailed for making a joke about anything including made up stories, shows what a snowflake nation this is. If you don’t like his style of comedy then don’t go or listen. I can not imagine what you would do is Roy Chubby Brown or Eddie Murphy were to do shows. A culture can not advance until freedom of speech is paramount whether you like what people have to say or not.

  2. “Fake news is being spread that we don’t have evidence against them. We have all the evidence, which we will present to the court and NOT TO THE MEDIA. It is for the court to decide whether it is satisfied by that evidence or not,” Indore SP said.
    That nails the quality of The Print’s reporting. Period.

  3. 1) he was not even allowed to perform
    2) there were no jokes on Hindu religion
    3) he’s a comedian

    There are hundreds of हिन्दू comedians who make fun of hindu deities, and politicians all the time, and no one arrests them. Why do Muslims have to keep giving certificates of nationalism all the time? Why are only Muslims under the micro scope?

    • Read the entire article carefully removing your fake hindu identity. Then you will understand. If you didn’t still, take the help of your primary school english teacher if you had ever gone to a school.

  4. The main issue is that the comedy is been made only on one community. Why there is no joke of the ‘So called minority’ . The GODHRA kand is not a joke. Killing of RSS carsevak was the actual example of Planned murders . Nowadays the country of Hindustan is responding just like the people responded in France .

    Proud of Hindusamaj
    Jay Hind , Jay Bharat

  5. This is just ridiculous. Arnab got bail for abetment. Salman got bail for manslaughter. This guy can’t get bail for making jokes about fictional characters.

    Nothing is holding this country back more than “religious sentiment”.

  6. Well done Theprint.
    Tight Slap on the name of fake Hinduism, fake nationalism and RSS terrorism.
    Gobar mind blind Bhakts keep barking.

  7. minority should be responsible before asking for rights.munavar does not want to discuss non secular pak.distraction tactics. tolerance means iron fist towards intolerance.or they have a choice .like in france .our godse will be given the highest civilian honour. the rights or all minorities especially Hindus is the responsibility of every Muslim.munaver is missing the point

  8. Jab jak kagaj nahi milte jo 2002 me jal gaye the tab tak andar rakho. Aur Charlie hebdo ke cartoons dikhao usko

  9. Serves him right. It has become a fashion for people to make fun of Hindu beliefs. There are something which you need to refrain from doing out of good sense. However if that sense is repeatedly found lacking it is good to get it drilled into one. Hopefully he will emerge wiser.

  10. All bullshit, these mothers fuckers known professionally as Stand up comedians Only target Hinduism and our culture, They don’t have the guts to say about Islam and Christianity coz they know their louda will be chopped after stepping out of the stage….

  11. He is not innocent.Had he joked about his own religion he would have been dealt with seriously by his own men. This is India full of jokers.

  12. Well done, in a secular country sentiments of all religions should be respected. If anything, you have right to make fun of yourself but not others.

  13. These lawmen never arrest Hindu extremists and BJP-RSS-VHP goons who make outrageous statements and spew poison everyday. They speak openly about eliminating minorities and insult their religions. But comedians are allowed no freedom of speech! What a farce democracy. Blind bhakts which includes, police officers, judges and far right social media terrorist are getting pat on the back. Shame on you who don’t speak out and stand for justice.

  14. You liberandu antinational media Print just remember one thing we Hindus have become intolerant now towards these anti Hindu agenda of Muslims like Munnawar. So the next time he goes for a comedy show we will be present there too and if he utters a word against Hindus or Hindu gods we would see that he is beaten and again arrested. So stop patronising these anti Hindu anti nationals. To hell with you and your story. That guy deserves the treatment he has received.

  15. Please Stop sharing false news. Every news you share are based on wrong facts. Eventually a Congress supporter and an left winger.

  16. Some people find abuse of HINDU religion FUNNY.

    JIHADI or COMEDIAN your view depends on the FACT, if you’re a SECULAR person or a INFIDEL who will burn in hell.

  17. The FIR in itself is questionable. What is with condom not to be shown to women… To children it’s understandable but why not women… I mean if they don’t know such a thing exists then the growth rate of population of India will go back to 5-6… And if it is objectionable to be shown in public then it is objectionable to show it to men as well…

  18. They spread hate speech towards Hindu gods and goddesses in the name of freedom of speech. Such bastard criminals should be hanged or crucified

  19. This news report is not complete.. it covers only one side of the story.. I have heard the joke on Sita and Ram.. and as a Hindu I don’t think this it offends Hindu gods, or Hinduism at all.. I have monetarily supported print only cause of the quality of journalism. I feel extremely disheartened today to find that you are slowly but surely turning into mainstream media

    Also God save us from this stupid Hind Rakshak Sangathan. When they cant save the economy and the defend our borders, I don’t think they can protect the Gods. They don’t have problem with unemployment, illiteracy, falling GDP, rapes, farmer suicides.. “Chale hai Raam ji ko bachane”. Their excuse for such behaviour is simply “tit for tat”.”we cant joke about Muhammad.. how can you joke about Raam?” Simple explanation, whoever can take a joke on their gods without creating a ruckus are better off, their faith is stronger.. Instead of pitying people who cant take a joke on their gods, should we also become like them?Threatening, lynching , carrying out hooliganism. When will these people start working on real issues?

    • Shame on you Priyasha Chakraborthy.. being a women and belonging to a HINDU family.. you find his deeds justified.. I completely agree everyone has right to speak in this country.. but is it good to always make joke of a particular religion.. I mean why bring religion into the picture.. does their comic sense is so worse they can’t even make people laugh without creating controversy..which makes me realise to give a little bit of condolences to the dead and dumb mindset of people visiting these shows and just for the sake that other dumb heads don’t start judging them..they never say anything to stop such ruthless postmortem. Islam is a religion of hate.. even though it doesn’t teach hate.. but it’s followers abide by the rules of hatred even though in the whole world their population is maximum.. and for your kind info ma’am stop watching the hindi films where cops are potrayed lazy and ineffective.. every field has some plus and minus in it.. if rape farmer protest etc seems crime.. then to hurt religious sentiments is also a crime..it doesn’t matter if some like you in many are not offended..if majority is offended then it’s a offense..and this one in jail was a continous offender.. crime has no priorities.. how does the govt know in advance that some one has rape intentions going on in his head.. you tell? It’s society which is I’ll.. and with the people having thinking like you.. situation is getting worsened.. so if you do not have the balls to understand the difference between good and bad then at least pay little respect to those who do..

  20. “not mentioned the tone or jokes on hindu deity” if even one word against islam was spoken im sure this pathetic article’s headlines would not gave been same if he she was arrested.

  21. Of late it has become fashionable for “liberals” to pass objectionable remarks on Hindu gods and goddesses. As long as the deity is Hindu, its perfectly fine for them to pass lewd remarks.
    Mr. Faruqui and others like him must be held accountable for such intentional insults to the Hindu religion and its deities. One wonders if they will ever utter such rubbish regarding the Prophets and God of their own religion. The inherent liberalism of Hinduism is being exploited by these anti-social elements.

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