Following Madhya Pradesh high court’s decision to reject Mumbai-based comedian Munawwar Faruqui’s bail plea, comics Neeti Palta, Anuvab Pal and director Onir from the entertainment industry have expressed disappointment over the court's decision.
Liberty of a person has to be "balanced" with his duties towards other citizens, Justice Rohit Arya of the Indore bench of the high court said, citing a Supreme Court ruling.
Faruqui is accused of passing "indecent" remarks about Hindu deities during a show in Indore.
Onir called the development a "vindictive prosecution" against an artiste belonging to a minority community for "something he did not say".
This is nothing but vindictive prosecution of an artist from the minority immunity for something HE DID NIT SAY !! #MunawarFaruqi I am sorry abs I am ashamed of what’s happening to you . https://t.co/ClyCyMFK49— à¦Â à¦¨à¦¿à¦° Onir Ø§ÙÂÙÂÛÂØ± à¤Âà¤¨à¤¿à¤° (@IamOnir) January 28, 2021
The court noted defence lawyers' argument that Faruqui had come to Indore on an invitation by organizers, and did not say anything that has been alleged.
However, in the light of the statements of the complainant and witnesses and video footage of the show, "at this stage it is difficult to countenance to the submissions of the learned counsel for the applicant as the complacency of the applicant cannot be ruled out", it said.
"It is not a case of no evidence. More so, the investigation is in progress," the court added.
"#MunawarFaruqi I am sorry abs I am ashamed of what's happening to you (sic)," Onir wrote on Twitter.
Taking a jibe at the current scenario, comedian Palta tweeted: "Since the streets belong to hooligans, criminals & vigilantes, it makes sense that activists, journalists and comedians have shifted base to jails. #nojustice"
Since the streets belong to hooligans, criminals & vigilantes, it makes sense that activists, journalists and comedians have shifted base to jails. #nojustice— Neeti Palta (@neetipalta) January 28, 2021
Aditi Mittal, another comic, quipped that Justice Arya must now be "referred to as 'Injustice Rohit Arya'," while commenting on a tweet about the court's order.
Who will from hereon be referred to as ‘Injustice Rohit Arya’ https://t.co/P3l9Z4USJP— do takke ke hot takes (@awryaditi) January 28, 2021
Writer-comedian Anuvab Pal shared a photo of the quote by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin -- 'There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.'
"In light of what is up with comedians in India, I thought this Idi Amin quote appropriate," Pal captioned the post on the microblogging site.
"Sacred Games" star Kubbra Sait retweeted Pal's tweet on her Twitter timeline.
Faruqui and four others were arrested on January 1 following a complaint by a BJP MLA's son that objectionable remarks about Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were passed during a comedy show at a cafe in Indore on New Year's day. One more person was arrested subsequently.
Faruqui and Nalin Yadav are in judicial remand and lodged in Indore Central Jail. A magistrate's court and a sessions court rejected their bail pleas, following which they moved the high court.
(With PTI inputs.)
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