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Comedian Munawar Faruqui in Jail For 22 Days For 'Joke' on Hindu Gods: A Timeline of Events

Munawar Faruqui (Image: Twitter)

Munawar Faruqui (Image: Twitter)

Munawar Faruqui along with four others were arrested on charges of passing indecent remarks against Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a show in Indore.

It has been exactly 22 days since stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui was arrested in Madhya Pradesh where he was for one of his shows. Faruqui, along with four others, were arrested on charges of passing indecent remarks against Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a show in Indore, police said then. So far, there hasn’t been any concrete evidence against him.

ALSO READ: A Look at Arrested Comedian Munawar Faruqui’s Tryst with Satire: Partition, Gujarat, Muslim Stereotypes

According to police, the complainant overheard ‘rehearsal jokes’ that the Mumbai-based artist was going to crack on his show. The complaint was filed by Eklavya Singh Gaur (36), son of local BJP MLA Malini Laxman Singh Gaur, based on which Faruqui and four others were arrested, police said. Gaur and his associates had gone to the show as an audience, where they objected to the comments and created a ruckus over it. They also forced the event to stop.

Twenty-two days have passed since his arrest, but there has been no reprieve for Faruqui. The case may be handed to Uttar Pradesh police in the coming days. Here is a timeline of events that followed the 30-year-old stand-up comedian’s arrest:

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On January 1, Faruqui was performing at a cafe in 56 Dukan of Indore. The show was interrupted by a group of people who said his jokes were mocking Hindu religion and Gods. A complaint was filed by Eklavya Singh Gaur (36), son of local BJP MLA Malini Laxman Singh Gaur. Following the complaint, Faruqui and four others, local comic Prakhar Vyas, Nalin Yadav, Pratik Vyas and Edwin Anthony, were arrested.

Day after Faruqui’s arrest, his friend, Sadakat Khan, was also arrested. Interestingly, Khan was not even named in the FIR. The charges pressed against him were that he was a co-organiser of the event.

His bail plea was rejected by a court in Madhya Pradesh on January 5..

On January 13, Indore police chief Vijay Khatri acknowledged that there was no concrete evidence against Faruqui, but he defended his arrest.

“Apart from the rehearsals, there were his old videos too. They were going to do it, anyway. All of their jokes were about Hindu gods and goddesses. It isn’t as if they would have not cracked these jokes if there was no hungama," Khatri was quoted as saying in media reports.

While there is a lack of evidence against Faruqui, a video from April 2020 is being cited as the reason for his arrest. In the video, the comedian cracks joke around the song ‘Mera piya ghar aya O Ramji’ where he talks about the irony in the lyrics.

This video was used to file an FIR against him in Uttar Pradesh on January 6. The FIR against him has been filed in Allahabad’s George Town police station and has been booked for charges of committing offences affecting communal harmony and hurting religious sentiments of people.

A team of Uttar Pradesh police team reached Indore last week to take Faruqui to an Allahabad court. Police Inspector Dhakeshwar Singh of Allahabad Crime Branch said the city’s additional chief judicial magistrate had issued the production warrant against Faruqui on January 6 in a case which was lodged in the city last April on the complaint of a local advocate accusing the comedian of mocking and insulting Hindu deities in his viral video clips on social media.

The FIR lodged in Allahabad, however, did not give the correct address of the comedian but on the news of his arrest by Indore police, the UP police too moved the Allahabad court and secured the production warrant against him, he added. A UP police team presented the same warrant to an Indore magisterial court and the jail authorities there to bring him to Allahabad, said Singh.

On January 14, Faruqui moved Madhya Pradesh High court seeking bail. The matter was posted for hearing the next day. However, the plea was rejected then also. His judicial custody was extended till January 27.

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