The Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday rejected bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui for hurting religious sentiments, saying it was the constitutional duty of every citizen to promote brotherhood and harmony.
Indore police had arrested Faruqui and his four associates after a complaint from Eklavya Gaur, son of Indore-4 BJP MLA Malini Gaur, alleged that he “insulted religious sentiments of Hindus”. 29-year-old Munawar was arrested by Indore Police on 2 January, a day after he was detained from Monroe Cafe on 1 January.
However, Indore Town Inspector (Tukaganj Police Station) Kamlesh Sharma reportedly said, “There’s no evidence against him for insulting Hindu deities or Union Minister Amit Shah,” and added that Faruqui has been booked as an organiser.
According to Live Law, two bail pleas filed by Faruqui’s lawyers have been rejected. This is the third bail plea and the first one in the state’s in high court where on 25 January, Justice Rohit Arya said at the outset, “But why you take undue advantage of other’s religious sentiments and emotions. What is wrong with your mindset? How can you do this for the purpose of business?”
“He is serial offender and often cracks defamatory jokes on Hindu gods and goddesses,” the complainant Gaur said on the day of the comedian’s arrest. “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 Godhra riots,” he added.
Faruqui’s bail plea was earlier 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.
On January 14, Faruqui had 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.
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).
Another FIR has been filed against him in UP’s Allahabad on January 6 for charges of committing offences affecting communal harmony and hurting religious sentiments of people.