The Vadodara Police on Sunday evening arrested a 26-year-old man for threatening to rape stand-up comedian Agrima Joshua, over her comments about the statue of Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj in Mumbai, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.
Shubham Mishra had on Saturday posted a video on his Instagram account, in which he hurled abuses at Joshua and threatened to rape her. He later took down the video and apologised for the vile comments and threats.
Mishra’s arrest came after National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote a letter to Gujarat Director General of Police Shivanand Jha about the video on Saturday evening. “The NCW is committed to creating safe online space for women and ensuring cyber security to women and is perturbed by the rise in use of cyberspace to instigate crime against women,” she said in the letter.
The commission also tweeted that Mishra had been arrested, and hoped this would be a lesson for people who threaten women online.
The Vadodara Police said that they had taken suo motu action against Mishra for the video. “We have detained him and initiated legal process for registration of FIR against him under relevant section of IPC [Indian Penal Code] and IT [Information Technology] Act,” the police tweeted.
In a one-year-old video, which has been widely shared on social media, Joshua jokes about the Maharashtra government’s Shivaji statue project in the Arabian Sea. She refers to what was said about the statue on the knowledge-sharing website Quora. “This Shivaji statue is an amazing masterstroke by Prime Minister Modi Ji,” Joshua says. “It will have solar cells which will power all of Maharashtra...It will also have GPS tracker...”
The video was part of a sketch Joshua had performed in April 2019 at a cafe in Khar West suburb of Mumbai. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists allegedly barged into the cafe early on Saturday and damaged the stage and furniture in one of its performance rooms.
Joshua apologised for the video on Saturday. However, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said he had directed the police to take legal action against her.