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No evidence of insulting any Hindu deity found, say Indore Police 2 days after comic Munawar Faruqui’s arrest

Prime News, National, Days after Mumbai-based standup comedian Munawar Faruqui and four others were arrested after a complaint from Eklavya Gaur, son of Indore-4 BJP MLA Malini Gaur, alleged that he “insulted religious sentiments of Hindus”, the police have said that there is no video evidence showing him making such remarks.

“There’s no evidence against him for insulting Hindu deities or Union Minister Amit Shah,” Indore Town Inspector (Tukaganj Police Station) Kamlesh Sharma said and adding that Faruqui has been booked as an organiser.

Indore police arrested Faruqui and his four associates based on Gaur’s allegations on Friday. “He is serial offender and often cracks defamatory jokes on Hindu gods and goddesses,” Gaur told media outside the police station 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 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).

Meanwhile, a disturbing video has gone viral where Faruqui is seen on stage, explaining himself and his content. In the footage, he can be seen referring to his old videos where he cracked jokes on Islam and that his content had never had the intention to provoke Hindu sentiments. Gaur too can be seen on the stage, even though he later stormed off.

Celebrated comedians, including Varun Grover, Vir Das, Kaneez Surkha, Agrima Joshua, Rahul Subramaniam and Rohan Joshi, rallied behind Faruqui in support.

On Sunday, a woman claiming to be part of the audience on the day of his arrest, Jenosha Agnes, recollected the event on Instagram, explaining how “few people with political connections rushed to the stage and snatched the mic”. “As Munawar arrived on the stage, few people with political connections rushed to the stage, snatched the mic and began saying ‘hamare religious sentiments hurt hue hai… Godhra kand per joke kiya… Hamare devi devta ka mazak udaya… Islam pe joke q nahi karta hai.”

“Munawar politely clarified that he never had the intention to hurt anyone. He handled the situation very well and they backed off,” she said. A few minutes later, a crowd entered the hall and the organisers backed out. Then police arrived and arrested Faruqui and others. “No derogatory remarks were made by Munawar Faruqui at the Indore show,” she said.

Meanwhile, Faruqui’s lawyer Asad Warsi said that the legal team will file for bail on Monday. “We are pleading there is no such evidence of offences against any of them.”

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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