Justice Arya of the Madhya Pradesh High Court asks prosecution for submission of all evidence against the comedian in two days
NEW DELHI – The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Monday reserved the order in the bail plea of comedian Munawar Faruqui and his associate Nalin Yadav as the judge asked the prosecution to submit all the evidence until Wednesday, the next date of hearing. This means the two will spend at least two more days in jail. There is possibility that the prosecution may demand more time for the submission of documents.
The bail was listed before Justice Rohit Arya who said: “Such people (Faruqui and Yadav) must not be spared. I will reserve the order on merits.”
Faruqi and Yadav have been arrested on allegations of making derogatory remarks on Hindu deities and violating Covid-19 pandemic rules during a stand-up show at a cafe in Indore city on New Year eve.
Advocate Manish Gupta said the accused had posted several previous videos which were circulated on social media insulting Hindu deities.
Senior advocate Vivek Tankha representing Faruqui, however, said, “he has committed no offense in the matter (and that his) bail should be granted.”
Justice Arya asked the counsels objecting the bail to submit their evidentiary documents before the court in the matter as he reserved the order. Reports citing police have said that there is no video evidence to show Faruqui made jokes insulting Hindu deities.
On January 14, Article-14 website reported that the Superintendent of Police, Indore, Vijay Khatri, has admitted that no jokes were made about Hinduism in the show. The arrests were made merely on a complaint by Eklavya Gaur, son of a local BJP leader.
But the the superintendent of Police still justified the arrest. “It didn’t really matter” weather jokes were cracked, he said, “But, we were told (by the complainants) that when they (comics) were rehearsing before the show, they were cracking jokes about Ram, Shivji.” This, Khatri said, indicated intent, that they were going to joke about Hindu gods, the report said.
Faruqui and his four associates were arrested after Gaur made the complaint alleging that they made remarks insulting Hindu deities and criticizing Home Minister Amit Shah at a show in a cafe in Indore on Friday night.
However, eye witnesses have rejected the claims made by Gaur saying, “No derogatory remarks were made by Munawar Faruqui at the Indore show.”
Gaur and his men disrupted the show forcing Faruqui to stop his performance and complained to the police leading to arrest of Faruqui and others.
Subsequently, Sadakat Khan, a friend of Faruqui in Indore, was also arrested when he went to the court to see him. A video that has gone viral on social media shows a lawyer slapping Sadakat while he is being hauled by cops on a motorcycle.