Hindutva group Bajrang Dal on Sunday said that it will not allow comedian Munawar Faruqui to perform in Gujarat.
The comedian had announced a “Gujarat Tour” on his official Instagram handle on September 12. He is scheduled to perform in Surat on October 1, Ahmedabad on October 2 and Vadodara on October 3.
The Bajrang Dal on Sunday accused Faruqui of hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus with his comedy.
“Hindus have been tolerant but the Bajrang Dal is not,” said Jwalit Mehta, the convenor of the North Gujarat Bajrang Dal, according to The Times of India. “Bajrang Dal knows tit for tat.”
Mehta added that the Hindutva group would not allow even one of the comedian’s shows to take place in Gujarat. He also threatened the organisers of Faruqui’s shows. “Cancel your shows or be prepared to face financial, physical and mental consequences.”
The comedian had been arrested in January this year in Indore based on a complaint filed by the son of a Bharatiya Janata Party politician.
The complainant alleged that the comedian was going to make objectionable statements about Hindu deities at his show. People at the club Faruqui where was scheduled to perform said that the police detained him before he had actually begun his show.
Four others – Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Edwin Anthony and Priyam Vyas – were also arrested on similar charges.
A day after that, Faruqui’s friend Sadaqat Khan, an engineer in Mumbai, was arrested for allegedly making abusive remarks about the complainant Eklavya Singh Gaur, who is the chief of Hindutva group Hind Rakshak Sangathan.
However on January 4, the Indore Police admitted that there was no visual evidence to show that Faruqui had insulted Hindu deities.
Faruqui’s arrest triggered massive outrage. Diaspora organisations, Indian and international stand-up comics, filmmakers, artists, and writers called for the dropping of “trumped up” charges against Faruqui and five people arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
Faruqui was granted interim relief by the Supreme Court February 5. On February 12, the Madhya Pradesh High Court granted bail to Edwin Anthony and Prakhar Vyas. His brother Priyam Vyas, a juvenile, is also out on bail. But Khan was denied bail twice by a sessions court in Indore.