Bajrang Dal, the Hindu nationalist militant organisation that forms the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), has said that it will not allow stand-up comedian and writer Munawar Faruqui to perform in Gujarat, Times of India reported.
The organisation has also reportedly threatened the organisers of the shows to cancel the scheduled shows or face consequences.
“Munawar Faruqui has been ridiculing Hindu gods and goddesses. He has been hurting religious sentiments of Hindus with his comedy. The Hindu society has been tolerant, but Bajrang Dal is not. Bajrang Dal knows how to give tit for tat,” said Jvalit mehta, a north Gujarat convenor of Bajrang Dal.
On September 12, Faruqui announced his Gujarat schedule as part of his India tour for the show Dongi To Nowhere. Tickets for the show are listed on BookMyShow for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Surat, Ahmedabad, and Vadodara, respectively.
Born and brought up in Gujarat and based in Mumbai, Faruqui was earlier arrested on January 1 while performing at a show in Indore for allegedly “hurting religious sentiments.”
When Faruqui got up on the stage to perform at the show in Indore’s Monroe Cafe, local BJP legislator Malini Laxman Singh Gaur’s son Aklavya Gaur Singh, who claimed to be the head of a youth organisation named Hind Rakshak, went on stage and disrupted the show. The comedian, and those in the audience who raised their voice in support of Faruqui, were manhandled. According to a source present at the incident, the police took no action against the attackers. However, Faruqui, his friend Sadakat Khan, who was in the audience, and three other comedians who were performing at the show, Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, and Priyam Vyas, and event coordinator Edwin Anthony were arrested.
In his complaint against Faruqui, Gaur Singh claimed that he had video evidence of Faruqui cracking jokes on Hindu deities, Godhra riots, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the show.
Although there was no electronic evidence for the claim, Faruqui’s bail plea was rejected four times based on “oral evidence” from the complainant.
Faruqui was finally granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on February 5 on the grounds that there was no video or material evidence proving that he had made derogatory remarks on Hindu deities that could hurt religious sentiments.
He was released the following day.
While Faruqui, Yadav, Vyas brothers, and Anthony were granted bail in the case, Khan’s bail was denied twice by a sessions court in Indore.