Indian Muslim stand-up comedian denied bail

An Indian high court on Thursday dismissed the bail plea of a Muslim stand-up comedian over allegedly objectionable comments against Hindu deities.

A judgment in Munawar Faruqui's bail plea was reserved by the High Court of the central Madhya Pradesh state on Jan. 25 before a detailed judgment was announced Thursday, according to sources in the police.

Rejecting Faruqui's argument, the court said that though there was no evidence against him so far, the comedian was also unable to satisfy the court that on the day he was arrested, he had made no objectionable comments on his show.

Justice Rohit Arya of the Indore bench refused bail for Faruqui and said in his order that it was the constitutional obligation of every person and state to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood irrespective of religion, language, sect and region.

Ashutosh Bagri, an Indore East Police superintendent, told Anadolu Agency that the investigation into the case was still pending and that once the probe was completed, they would submit their findings to the court.

Faruqui, 29, was arrested by the Indore East Police on a complaint by Eklavya Singh Gaur, the son of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker, accusing the comedian of making indecent remarks on Hindu deities. The police also arrested four other performers and a few days later, an organizer of the show.

According to eyewitnesses, Eklavya was sitting in the audience and forced the organizers to stop the show, accusing Faruqui of uttering indecent words against Hindu deities.

The judge said in his observation that Faruqui and the other comedians were intentionally making scandalous indecent jokes on social media against Hindu gods and goddesses that hurt Hindu religious sentiments despite protests on various social media platforms. "However, there is nothing on record," he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency