Munawar Faruqui axed from Gurgaon comedy festival amid threats
Stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui has been removed from the line-up of performers at the Gurgaon Comedy Festival over "public safety concerns." The organizers of the three-day event said they had received "repeated calls" and online messages against Faruqui's inclusion in the line-up. The event will take place at Airia Mall, Gurugram, from December 17 to 19. Earlier, Faruqui's show in Bengaluru was also canceled.
Why does it matter?
- Faruqui's exclusion from the event is what critics of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) describe as a crackdown on "artistic expression" and dissent.
- On Monday, BJP leader Arun Yadav opposed Faruqui's participation and filed a case against him "for insulting Hindu Gods and Goddesses."
- Faruqui was infamously arrested this January for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments during a show in Indore.
Comedy fest organizers feared public threat
"We did not want to hurt anyone's sentiments or put the public in danger, so we removed him from the panel," Mubin Tisekar—the co-founder of the organizer, The Entertainment Factory—told The Indian Express. "The safety of artists and the public is a priority; the audience is everything," Tisekar said. The decision was taken Monday and changes to posters and ticketing platforms were speedily made.
Who filed the complaint?
Yadav filed a police case against Faruqui with Assistant Commissioner of Police Sohna Aman Yadav on Monday. Yadav is the head of the BJP's IT department in Haryana. The complaint accused Faruqui of insulting Hindu sentiments and requested that he should not perform to "maintain peace and harmony." Faruqui's "inane and cringe-worthy" jokes highlight an increasing trend of mocking Hindu deities, the complaint said.
Which of Faruqui's jokes landed him in trouble?
Yadav's complaint also mentions jokes from Faruqui's sets that allegedly mock the Hindu Lord Rama and his wife Sita. Another joke mentioned in the complaint equated the 2002 Godhra train burning, where nearly 60 Hindu pilgrims died, to a Bollywood film.
You can view Yadav's complaint here
विवादित स्टैंडअप कॉमेडियन मुनव्वर फारूकी के गुरुग्राम में होने जा रहे शो के खिलाफ पुलिस में शिकायत दर्ज@TajinderBagga भाई , किसी भी सूरत में इस गद्दार का शो गुरुग्राम में होने नहीं दिया जाएगा " जय श्री राम " 🚩 pic.twitter.com/m8qiZgTDhP— Arun Yadav (@beingarun28) December 6, 2021
String of cancellations for Faruqui's shows
Previously, several of Faruqui's shows have been canceled of late with strong opposition from right-wing groups. Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mumbai, Raipur, and Bangalore are among the cities where his shows have been canceled. Reacting to the cancelations last month, Faruqui had tweeted, "Nafrat jeet gayi, artist haar gaya (hate has won, the artist has lost). I'm done, goodbye. Injustice."
Why was Faruqui arrested?
Faruqui was arrested on January 1 for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments in his show. His lawyer had argued that the show had not yet started his act before he was interrupted by protesters. He was jailed for a month before the Supreme Court granted him bail. Last month, Faruqui described his arrest as "unfair" as his show was loved by many of all faiths.