Comedian Munawar Faruqui was released from a jail in Indore late on Saturday, a day after being granted interim bail by the Supreme Court, PTI reported. Faruqui had been in jail since January 1 for allegedly insulting Hindu deities during a show.
Earlier in the day, the authorities at Indore Central Jail had refused to release Faruqui, saying that they had not received any official order for the same, The Indian Express reported.
“We had earlier not received the order, however, a judge from the Supreme Court called up the chief judicial magistrate of Indore and asked him to check the website for the uploaded orders and in case it was already uploaded, to comply by it,” Indore Central Jail Superintendent Rajesh Bangde told the newspaper. “We checked the site and it was uploaded and hence he was released at 11 pm.”
Shortly after his release, Faruqui told NDTV he had complete faith in the judiciary and refused to comment further. The comedian, then, left for Mumbai.
Faruqui had been granted bail on Friday by a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai. The judges noted that the accusations mentioned in the first information report against him were vague.
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The Supreme Court also stayed the production warrant issued by the Uttar Pradesh Police against Faruqui. The Uttar Pradesh Police had sought the comedian’s custody in connection with a case from April, in which he was accused of making derogatory comments about Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and of hurting religious sentiments.
Before the Supreme Court, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had denied bail to Faruqui thrice, despite the lack of electronic evidence against him. His arrest had triggered massive outrage.
The case against Faruqui
Faruqui was arrested from a cafe in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore city on January 1 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a programme. He was arrested on the basis of a complaint by Eklavya Singh Gaur, chief of Hindutva group Hind Rakshak Sangathan. Gaur is the son of Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Malini Gaur.
On January 4, the Indore Police had said that there was no visual evidence to show that Faruqui had insulted Hindu deities. Along with Faruqui, four others – Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Edwin Anthony and Priyam Vyas – were also arrested on similar charges. A day later, Faruqui’s friend Sadaqat Khan was arrested for allegedly making abusive remarks about Gaur.
Indore Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri had said that Faruqui had not made any jokes about Hindu deities, or even begun his performance and he was arrested on the basis of Gaur’s claims that he had overheard jokes during rehearsal.