The bail pleas of comedian Munawar Faruqui and his show organiser Nalin Yadav were rejected by a sessions court in Indore on Tuesday.
The court observed that the two have been accused of making objectionable remarks on Hindu Gods and Goddesses, passing lewd remarks at women and displaying items such as condoms in the presence of children. “And considering these circumstances, giving them the benefit of bail will create a law and order situation,” the court said,
The court’s observations come in the light of a written application submitted by Tukoganj police, where Faruqui along with five others were booked on a complaint made by Eklavya Gaud, son of BJP’s sitting MLA Malini Gaud from Indore.
In their application, police from Tukoganj police station said: “During the show, inappropriate language had been used while referring to religion, society and culture. While comments were also made about the present Home Minister Amit Shah and Godhra carnage which might create social unrest.”
They further pointed out that a few days back there was social unrest in Ujjain and Indore following remarks intended to hurt religious sentiments. In such a situation, comments made by Faruqui appear to be preplanned, the police said. The call records of Faruqui and other co-accused, along with their past movements, are being probed.
The police further said that Munawar and Nalin had organised the show in Indore at the former’s behest. The police informed the court that granting bail to the two would affect the ongoing investigation and send a “wrong message” to the society, leading to protests from people from a specific community.
They further told the court that the show was organised in violation of COVID-19 guidelines and without taking appropriate permissions. While the show was promoted through an online platform, the tickets were sold by taking money in cash, leading to loss of state revenue, police said.
A similar FIR registered against Faruqui at George Town police station in Prayagraj in April 19, 2020 is also being attached with the case, the police said.
The police had registered a case on January 1, based on a written complaint by Gaud.
Gaud, in his complaint, had stated that a comedy show was “illegally” organised at Munrow Cafe without permission from the local administration.
The show was organised by Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Sadakat Kho, Edwin Anthony and Priyam Vyas.
Gaud claimed that as soon as the show began objectionable jokes were made on Hindu deities Ganesh, Karthike and Lord Shiva. Inappropriate jokes were also cracked on women sitting in the audience and objects such as condoms were displayed in presence of underaged children, he alleged. “The show was organised to hurt Hindu religious sentiments and when the organisers were asked to stop the show, they refused to do so,” stated Gaud in his complaint.
Based on the complaint, a case was registered under section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), section 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) and other relevant provisions.
Arguing the bail plea, Munawar’s counsel Anshuman Shrivastav said that the case against the two was made on false grounds and there is no evidence on record to show that an attempt was made to hurt religious sentiments by insulting Gods and Goddesses.
Shrivastav further argued that the applicants are performers whose job is to make people laugh and their intention is to not to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments.
Citing the sections of article 19 (1) (a) of the constitution granting freedom of speech and expression, Shrivastav stated that any comments made on a political personality does not amount to any offence as per the constitution.
Shrivastav told The Indian Express that they will approach the high court for bail today.