Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui was released on Sunday from a jail in Madhya Pradesh, where he was held for more than a month after his alleged “filthy and indecent jokes” about Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as Home minister Amit Shah. Hours before he was released, the authorities of Indore jail, where he was held, said they were yet to receive any order from the Supreme Court.
The release came after the chief judicial magistrate of Indore received a “call from a judge of the Supreme Court”, urging them to check the website for the apex court’s order that had put a stay on Munawar’s production warrant and granted him ad-interim bail, reported Indian Express.
“The matter is subjudice before the court and I have full faith in the administration of justice and I would not like to make any comment at this stage,” Mr Faruqui told NDTV just after he was released minutes after midnight. He has left for Mumbai.
Mr Faruqui was granted bail by the Supreme Court on Friday. The court had issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government and put on hold a warrant against the comedian in Uttar Pradesh. Mr Faruqui has argued that he was invited by the organisers of the show and was present but he had not made any such jokes that day.
The top court agreed that procedure was not followed during his arrest and the allegations in the FIR – filed on a complaint by Eklvaya Singh Gaur, the son of a BJP MLA – were vague.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Congress’s P Chidambaram questioned why the comedian’s release was delayed. “Why has Munawar Faruqui not been released from jail despite an order of interim bail granted by the Supreme Court yesterday morning?” his tweet read.
In response to the Supreme Court order on Friday, Madhya Pradesh Minister Vishwas Sarang said: “Bail is a routine process, that doesn’t mean he is innocent. Our police has not done anything wrong. Why should anyone be allowed to make fun of Hindu Gods and Goddesses?”
Munawar Faruqui was denied bail thrice before. Refusing him bail on January 28, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had said the possibility of more “incriminating material” could not be ruled out as investigations were still on.