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New Delhi: Comedian Kunal Kamra has tweeted a letter to the Hindutva outfit Vishwa Hindu Parishad, days after his show in a Gurugram bar was cancelled citing opposition from the group and Bajrang Dal. In the Hindi letter, Kamra has asked the group questions on faith, Hinduism, their source of power and exactly how he has offended Hindus.
Indian Express had reported on September 9 that Studio Xo bar, where Kamra was scheduled to perform on September 17 and 18, had cancelled his show, saying that men from Bajrang Dal had arrived at the bar, threatened them and objected to the show because they thought the comedian was “anti-Hindu.”
Kamra has been critical of the Bharatiya Janata Party government and often incorporates dissent into his routines. In the last few years, he has been a frequent target of Hindutva groups.
He had tweeted in the immediate aftermath of news of his show being cancelled that there was no evidence to show that his shows breached peace, as the Hindutva groups had claimed.
As The Wire has reported earlier, the VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal wrote on Twitter that the group “will not let” Kamra perform anywhere.
VHP today given a letter to the @DC_Gurugram to cancel the show of AntiHindu Kunal Kamra scheduled in Gurugram on 17th of this month. These hatemongers must be booked under panel provisions of law. Can't be allowed to perform in public. The @gurgaonpolice sud take action. pic.twitter.com/jbLWPX4IRU
— विनोद बंसल Vinod Bansal (@vinod_bansal) September 9, 2022
To Bansal’s tweet, Kamra had tweeted a satirical response invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.
“I have been commenting for [the last] five years and have nothing left to say,” Kamra had told The Wire.
Two days later, it does appear as if Kamra has some thing left to say.
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) September 11, 2022
The letter, which Kamra shared with the caption ‘my answer’ (mera jawab in Hindi), tagging VHP, identifies him as a ‘so called comedian’ – the epithet ‘so called’ is often used by online supporters of Hindutva parties in an effort to discredit persons in various lines of work.
Kamra calls the VHP the ‘Hindu Parishad’, saying that he does not believe that the world’s Hindus have appointed them custodian of their faith.
“You got my show in a Gurgaon club cancelled by threatening the owner. How can I blame him [the manager], he has to run his business, how can he suffer gangsters? He won’t go to the police either. If he does go to the police then the police will, in turn, go to you to make a request – the whole system is yours,” Kamra says.
He then asks the VHP as to when he has “disrespected Hindu culture” – something they have accused him of doing. “If there is a clip or a show, then show me too. I only take on the government with satire. If you are maintained by the government then you might feel bad. How does Hindu come into this matter,” Kamra writes.
Kamra then says that he does not consider it necessary to give a test to ostensibly prove his relationship with god. “But I will still give a test and take your test as well. I can say, “Jai Shri Sita-Ram” and “Jai Radha Krishna”, loudly and proudly. If you are truly children of India then write “Godse murdabad” and send it. If not then I will take it that your are anti-Hindu and pro-terrorism. It is not as if you consider Godse to be god, is it? If you are then continue to stop my shows in the future. I will be happy simply because I will have won the test of being a bigger Hindu than you,” Kamra writes.
He ends the letter saying that whatever he does, he will earn a livelihood because he feels that “as a bigger Hindu” than the VHP, “eating off scraps by using threats is a sin.”