While Telangana’s Information Technology Minister KT Rama Rao welcomed stand-up comedians like Munawar Faruqui and Kunal Kamra to perform in Hyderabad, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have asked the police to stop Faruqui’s recently announced show in the city.
In a letter to Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy, a BJP MLA from Hyderabad named T Raja Singh requested that permission not be given to Faruqui to perform in the city, alleging that the show will “create hatred against Hindu religion and gods.”
He further claimed that Faruqui has made serious allegations against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Godhra incidents, and the deaths of Kar Sevaks in “many of his speeches” and noted that the same may be observed in his YouTube channel and in his shows in Goa and Karnataka as well.
He also added that Hindu supporters in Hyderabad would take to the roads in protest if the show was allowed to take place.
Faruqui has been hounded by right-wing organisations since the beginning of 2021. In January, when he was performing at a cafe in Indore, a local BJP legislator’s son, who claimed to be the head of a youth organisation named Hind Rakshak, went on stage and disrupted the show, accusing Faruqui of cracking jokes on Hindu deities, Godhra riots, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The comedian was subsequently arrested and he was denied bail several times despite lack of video evidence. He was finally granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on February 5 and released the following day.
More recently, Faruqui had hinted that he would quit comedy following the cancellation of his Bangalore show on November 28. It was the last in a series of as many as 12 of his Dongri To Nowhere shows that were called off over a span of two months due to intimidation by right-wing groups. Faruqui’s shows were cancelled in various cities, such as Ahmedabad, Raipur, Mumbai, and Goa, following threats from Bajrang Dal, the Hindu nationalist militant organisation that forms the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).
On December 7, Faruqui was dropped from the Gurgaon Comedy Festival. The organisers cited “public safety” concerns as the reason for the decision and mentioned that they had received repeated calls and messages opposing Faruqui’s participation.
However, on December 18, Faruqui was finally able to perform at the YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai after a wing of the Congress, All India Professional Congress (AIPC), requested protection from the Church Gate Police Station ahead of the event.
Faruqui had also announced two new upcoming shows of Dhando in Pune and Kolkata on January 7 and 16, respectively. And on December 22, Faruqui announced that his Dhando show in Hyderabad would be held on January 9, 2022.
Following this announcement, MLA Raja Singh sent his letter to the police, while BJP MP D Arvind threatened to block Faruiqui’s show and the state BJP president Bandi Sanjay urged the youth wing of the party to prevent the comedian from performing in the state.