Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday said the Mumbai Police were seeking legal opinion on taking action against stand-up comedian Agrima Joshua for joking about the state government’s Shivaji statue project in the Arabian Sea, the Hindustan Times reported.
Deshmukh said action will be taken if Joshua is found guilty of insulting Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj. On Saturday, he had said he had directed the police to take legal action against the comedian.
But, the home minister added that anyone who has used foul language against the comedian will also face strict action. “Police are preparing a list of all those accused of threatening Joshua and action will be taken against them,” Deshmukh said. He added that the Mumbai Police would also look into the vandalism by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers at the cafe.
The home minister’s announcement came on the same day the Mumbai Police arrested a man for posting an allegedly abusive and threatening video on YouTube against Joshua. Imtiaz Shaikh alias Umesh Dada, is a friend of Shubham Mishra who has been arrested for threatening to rape Joshua, India Today reported.
“We have taken suo motu action and have arrested Shaikh from Nalasopara [suburb in Mumbai],” Mumbai Crime Branch Deputy Commissioner of Police Rashmi Karandikar said. “We are investigating as to who helped him make the video. We are probing if he and Mishra decided to put the objectionable video together. He will be produced in court on Tuesday.”
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 was held after a complaint by National Commission for Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma to Gujarat Director General of Police Shivanand Jha.
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 has apologised for her comments in the video.