The FIR filed against Faruqi and others does not mention Sadakat’s name.
Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — “The ticket price for the stand up show was Rs 500 per person which was organised by Prakhar Vyas, Sadakat Khan, Edwin Antony, Priyam Vyas and others,” reads the court order passed on January 5 rejecting the bail of comedians Munwar Faruqui and Nalin Yadav.
But the family and friends of one of the accused, Sadakat Khan, have disputed the claim that he was involved in organising the show.
Faruqui and four others, excluding Sadakat, were arrested on the 1st of January by Madhya Pradesh Police on a complaint by Hindutva activists Eklavya Guar, son of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Malini Gaur, during a stand up show at a cafe in Indore. Gaur and his band of supporters disrupted the show when Faruqui took to the stage. They accused the comedian of making “indecent” jokes over Hindu deities and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Eyewitness accounts have disputed Gaur’s version saying no derogatory remarks were made by the comedian at the show. But police invoked different sections of the Indian penal code including sections 295-A and 298 (speaking with intention to wound religious feeling), 269 (spread of infection/coronavirus), 188 (Disobedience to order of public servant) and 34 (offence by several persons with common intention).
Sadakat, who lives and works as a construction supervisor in Mumbai, was arrested the next day when he went to meet a lawyer at a court. A video that went viral shows a terrified Sadakat being abused and slapped by unknown men while being hauled to a police station on a motorcycle.
The complaint and FIR filed against Faruqi and others does not mention Sadakat’s name.
“There was no role of Sadakat in organising the show, he was a fan just like any other audience member,” said Salman Shakeel, a friend of both Sadakat and Faruqui.
When Faruqui had decided to hold a show in Indore Sadakat had no plans to accompany him initially. But his mind changed after his family told him to pay a visit to his grandmother who lives there. So he planned his visit to be in the city on the New year eve and “gave a surprise to his friend (Munawar)” which turned into an ordeal.
Sadakat and Faruqui friendship started in October when they first met at a show in Mumbai after learning that they live just 10 mins apart. “The two would frequently meet over lunches, dinners or go shopping together and their bond grew stronger,” says Sadakat’s cousin Kaneez Khan. Recently Sadakat’s family threw a small party at their house when Faruqui crossed the half million subscribers mark on YouTube. He later released a song in which he mentions Sadakat’s name. “They are like a family,” Kanees says. Faruqui, who originally hails from Gujrat, lost his father to paralysis in February last year. His mother passed away many years ago.
When Faruqui and others were arrested, Sadakat was the only reliable support he had in the city. He had mindfully texted Sadakat’s number to his manager and a lawyer before police put them in lockup.
Sadakat coordinated with lawyers and next day went to court to attend Faruqi’s bail hearing. According to one of his friends, he was mobbed by supporters of Gaur in court premises and detained by police.
A video available online shows Gaur is arguing with Faruqui on stage who is trying to convince him of his point. At one instance Sadakat also appears in the video trying to defend his friend.
While people have questioned the grounds on which Faruqui and others have been booked and arrested, Sadakat’s family and friends say that in his cases even the allegations are “unwarranted”.
“Sadakat’s crime is he is Munwar Faruqui’s friend,” rued Shakeel.
Sadakat has filed a bail plea in the sessions court of Indore which is likely to be up for hearing on Monday. “We are hopeful that he will get bail tomorrow,” said his lawyer Nasir Khan.