Two days after stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui and four others were arrested for allegedly insulting religious sentiments of Hindus, a woman on Monday claiming to be part of the audience, took to Instagram and denied that any derogatory remarks were made by him during the show. A police officer too said there was no video evidence showing him making the remarks.
Indore police on Friday arrested Faruqui, a comedian from Gujarat, and four associates following a complaint from Eklavya Gaur, the son of Indore-4 BJP MLA Malini Gaur, that they had allegedly insulted Hindu deities during the show and also cracked jokes on Union home minister Amit Shah. “He is a serial offender and often cracks defamatory jokes on Hindu gods and goddesses,” Gaur told reporters outside the police station.
“When I heard about Munawar’s show, I bought a ticket and went to see it. As expected, he was insulting Hindu deities and also mocked home minister Amit Shah by dragging his name with the Godhra riots.”
Subsequently, he and his associates stopped the show and brought them to Tukaganj Police Station and submitted videos of the show, he said.
This came even as fellow standup comedians expressed solidarity with Faruqui and underlined the importance of humour. Several comedians, including Varun Grover, Vir Das and Rohan Joshi, have criticised the arrest of stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui.
Grover took to Instagram and alleged that Faruqui was “beaten up”. The Sacred Games writer shared a video where the comedian is trying to reason with Eklavya Singh Gaur, son of local BJP MLA Malini Laxman Singh Gaur, who had filed the complaint.
“A fellow Indian, a fellow comedian is in jail and got beaten up by a mob because of the words he uttered. Here he’s trying to logically, calmly present his case but our systems now just want to brutally silence every voice.
“They don’t want to hear, they don’t want to even argue – they want to simply erase every shred of individual thought, every iota of reason. And we the people of the greatest civilization of earth are ok with it,” Grover wrote.
Das took to Twitter and wrote that it is futile to stop humour and to try and “control” it. “You can’t stop jokes and laughter. Not because comedians are performing it, but because people need to laugh. Harder you try, the more you’re going to be laughed at, now, and by history.
“Anyone who has ever tried to control humour, now has a category of jokes devoted to them,” Das tweeted. He also posted screenshot of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2017 tweet, when he talked about the importance of humour.
“I think we need more satire and humour. Humour brings happiness in our lives. Humour is the best healer,” the prime minister had said in the tweet. Das captioned the image: “I’m just going to leave this here.”