New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh is reportedly likely to take custody of arrested comedian Munawar Faruqui on Tuesday, in connection with a May 2020 case registered for ‘insulting’ Hindu deities and Union home minister Amit Shah. According to Newsclick, a court in Uttar Pradesh has issued a production warrant to the Indore Central Jail, where Faruqui is being held.
Speaking to The Wire from Indore, Munawar Faruqui’s lawyer, Anshuman Tiwari, confirmed that the Uttar Pradesh police has indeed filed a case against his client but a copy of their remand application has not been made available yet.
Faruqui was denied bail by the judicial magistrate in Indore despite the Indore police acknowledging in the media that they had no evidence against the comedian. A bail plea was then filed in the high court in Indore and taken up on Friday. However, the hearing could not proceed as the police failed to submit the case diary to the court. Though the police station investigating the case is across the road from the high court, the judge gave the police a week’s time to submit the diary and the matter is now listed for hearing on Friday, January 22.
Five others have been arrested with Faruqui, for allegedly making objectionable remarks against Hindu deities. All six – Faruqui, Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas, Edwin Anthony, Sadakat Khan – were arrested on January 1, 2020, at a show in Indore on a complaint by Eklavya Gaud, the son of BJP MLA Malini Gaud, who thought Faruqui and his teammates made objectionable remarks against Hindu deities and “hurt religious sentiment”.
Ever since the incident shot into the limelight, many observers have already pointed out the arbitrary nature of all the arrests made in the case. “Of the six, one is the brother of the show’s organiser who was in the audience, another a friend of Faruqui’s who had nothing to do with the event, and a third whose only family is a minor brother running around for him now,” Indian Express reported.
Even as the Indore police failed to produce a case diary, it has been insisting that all of them should be kept in custody to prevent possible “law and order problems” in Ujjain and Indore. Faruqui has been booked under Sections 295A (outraging religious feelings) and 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code, among other charges.
Town Inspector of Tukoganj Police Station Kamlesh Sharma had earlier confirmed to Indian Express the police had no evidence against Faruqui directly and that he had been booked as an organiser.
“There’s no evidence against him for insulting Hindu deities or Union Minister Amit Shah,” he said. He also added that the two videos submitted by Gaud, the complainant, were of another comedian. Yet, the police have been wanting to keep all the accused in custody.