Days after Mumbai-based standup comedian Munawar Faruqui and four others were arrested after a complaint from Eklavya Gaur, son of Indore-4 BJP MLA Malini Gaur, alleged that he “insulted religious sentiments of Hindus”, the police have said that there is no video evidence showing him making such remarks.
“There’s no evidence against him for insulting Hindu deities or Union Minister Amit Shah,” Indore Town Inspector (Tukaganj Police Station) Kamlesh Sharma told The Indian Express, adding that Faruqui has been booked as an organiser.
Indore police arrested Faruqui and his four associates based on Gaur’s allegations on Friday. “He is serial offender and often cracks defamatory jokes on Hindu gods and goddesses,” Gaur told media outside the police station on the day of the comedian’s arrest.
Faruqui and his associates Edvin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas and Nalin Yadav have been booked under IPC Sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 269 (Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
Meanwhile, a disturbing video has gone viral where Faruqui is seen on stage, explaining himself and his content. In the footage, he can be seen referring to his old videos where he cracked jokes on Islam and that his content had never had the intention to provoke Hindu sentiments. Gaur too can be seen on the stage, even though he later stormed off.