The Madhya Pradesh Police arrested and booked comedian Munawar Faruqui for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by making derogatory comments about Hindu deities, NDTV reported on Saturday.
The first information report was filed on the complaint of Eklavya Singh Gaur, the chief of Hindutva group Hind Rakshak Sangathan, according to reports. Gaur is the son of Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Malini Gaur.
Police said the charges against Faruqui, a Mumbai-based comedian, were imposed after his performance at the Monroe Cafe in Indore. “During the show, the comedian allegedly mocked Hindu gods and goddesses,” a police official said.
Faruqui was also accused of making disparaging statements about Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and of allegedly mocking the kar sevaks who were killed in the Godhra massacre of 2002.
“As soon as we came to know about this programme, we bought tickets for the event and, we found that he [Faruqui] was making fun of Hindu gods and goddesses and the home minister, as he had done in the past,” Hind Rakshak Sangathan’s Gaur told NDTV.
After the programme ended, the comedian was allegedly roughed up by the members of the group, who forcefully took Faruqui to the Tukoganj police station along with the organisers. A purported video of the incident has now gone viral on social media.
The police said it was also looking into allegations that the owners of the cafe had organised the stand-up event without the permission of authorities. Besides, the show was allegedly attended by several people who were below the age of 18, police said.
A case was filed against Faruqui and the owners of the cafe in the Munkoganj area of the city.
Besides Faruqui, four other arrested persons were identified as Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Edwin Anthony and Priyam Vyas, PTI reported, citing police officials.
They were booked under sections section 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and other related provisions of the Indian Penal Act.
The police said it was examining the video footage from the event to ascertain whether minors were also present at the show. “We are also examining the comments made by the comedian,” the police official added. “Based on that, we will investigate the matter.”