High Court rejects stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui’s bail application

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On Thursday, Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court rejected bail application of stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui and co-accused Nalin Yadav. They were arrested on January 1 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and violating Covid-19 protocol during a New Year event during a show in Indore.

Faruqui was arrested on January 1 on the complaint of Hindu Rakshak Sangathan convener Eklavya Singh Gaud, who is also a son of BJP MLA Malini Singh Gaud, in Indore just before he was about to start his performance at a local restaurant.

He has been in jail since January 2 along with the four other co-accused. The court heard his bail application on January 25 and reserved the order on merit.

Rejecting the bail application, a single-bench of judge Rohit Arya observed:

“In the light of statements of the complainant and the witnesses referred above, the seized articles via video footage of the show and the seizures memo detailed above, at this stage, it is difficult to countenance to the submission of the learned counsel for the applicant as complacency of the applicant cannot be ruled out, besides vulnerability of his acts in public domain. It is no case of no evidence. More so, the investigation is in progress. The possibility of collection of more incriminating material and complacency of other persons cannot also be ruled out. Further, it has come on record that similar nature offence has been registered against the applicant at a police station in Prayagraj, UP.”

“That apart, there is also specific assertion by the learned counsel for the complainant that the applicant along with other co-accused persons allegedly made filthy jokes in social media deliberately against Hindu Gods, Lord Shri Ram and Goddess Seeta, hurting religious sentiments of Hindus for the past 18 months, despite protest on various social media platforms. There is nothing contrary on record,” the order reads.

“Be that as it may, this court refrains from commenting upon contentions of the parties touching on merits but regard being had to material seized and the statements of witnesses and that the investigation is in progress, no case is made out for grant of bail. Both the cases stand dismissed,” said the order.

Faruqui’s advocate Anshuman Shrivastava said, “We believe in our law and judiciary and will decide the future course of action accordingly.”

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