Comedian Munawar Faruqui denied bail by Madhya Pradesh HC
The Madhya Pradesh High Court today rejected the bail applications filed by stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui and one of his associates Nalin Yadav. The duo and some others had been arrested by Indore Police earlier this month for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community and ridiculing Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Here are more details on this.
In his order, Justice Rohit Arya said the investigation is underway and "no case is made out for grant of bail," Bar & Bench reports. He highlighted that it is the constitutional duty of every citizen to promote harmony and the spirit of brotherhood. "Fundamental rights although confers rights but the duties and obligations are inherent thereunder. Every right is coupled with duty (sic)."
"The evidence collected so far suggest that in an organized public show under the garb of stand-up 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 applicant," the court observed. Justice Arya had on Monday reserved order in this matter.
This is the third bail plea and the first in the state's High Court in connection with this matter. It had originally been listed for hearing on January 15 but was adjourned by two weeks as the police had not reportedly submitted the case diary.
Faruqui, 29, was arrested by the Indore Police on January 2, a day after he was detained from the city's Monroe Cafe. He, along with at least five others, are accused of hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community by cracking some jokes about Hindu Gods and deities. It was also alleged that Faruqui had disrespected Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The complaint in this regard was filed by one Eklavya Singh Gaur, the chief of a local Hindutva outfit. Gaur is the son of Bharatiya Janata Party's MLA Malini Gaur. He had also allegedly created a ruckus at Faruqui's show in Indore.
By January 3, Faruqui and five others were arrested under the 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).
Faruqui, on the other hand, claimed in his bail plea that he had not made any statements as alleged in the criminal complaint against him. Earlier, the Indore Town Inspector (Tukaganj Police Station), Kamlesh Sharma, had reportedly said that there was no evidence against the comedian. To note, many fellow comedians and actors have condemned Faruqui's arrest and called for his release.