Faruqui, 28, was arrested along with Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas and Edwin Anthony on January 1 for the alleged objectionable remarks and for “hurting religious sentiments” at a show in Indore, on a complaint by Eklavya Gaud, the son of BJP MLA Malini Gaud. Faruqui’s friend Sadakat Khan was held the next day when he went to meet him in court.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Friday granted interim bail to Prakhar Vyas and Edwin Anthony, arrested along with stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a show earlier this year.
Earlier Munawar and Priyam Vyas were released on bail, while Nalin Yadav and Sadaqat Khan, the other accused in the case, are still languishing in jail. Sadaqat’s bail plea was rejected, for the second time, by the Indore district court on Tuesday.
Munawar Faruqui was released from Indore jail on Saturday after the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Indore received a “call from a judge of the Supreme Court”, urging them to check the website for the apex court’s order that had put a stay on Munawar’s production warrant and granted him ad-interim bail. Priyam Vyas was earlier granted bail by the juvenile court, as he was underage.
Meanwhile, in a latest development, individuals belonging to diasporic indian organisations, international organisations, Indian and international stand-up comics, filmmakers, artists, and writers have issued a statement calling for the full dismissal of all charges against Munawar, Nalin, Prakhar, Edwin, and Sadakat.
“This case reinforces deep concerns around the rights to liberty and freedom of speech in India,” the press release read.
Director of PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection, Julie Trébault has stated that “The arrest of Munawar Faruqui, his friends and associates, on arbitrary and unfounded grounds is nothing short of a violation of their fundamental right to free speech and expression.”
The signatories include prominent figures from India like Rajmohan Gandhi, Arundhati Roy, Mallika Sarabhai, Swara Bhaskar, Pooja Bhatt, Kalki Koechlin, Shonali Bose and Anand Patwardhan, as well as a long list of Indian stand-up stars, including Kunal Kamra, Sanjay Rajoura, Anuvab Pal, Prashasti Singh, Aravind SA, Urooj Dingankar and Anirban Dasgupta, among others.
International signatories include US-based authors Amitava Kumar and Tanya Selvaratnam, Canadian filmmaker John Greyson, filmmaker Shruti Rya Ganguly, and UK-based architect Sofia Karim, and feminist activist from Brazil, Sonia Corrêa.
Faruqui, 28, was arrested along with Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas and Edwin Anthony on January 1 for the alleged objectionable remarks and for “hurting religious sentiments” at a show in Indore, on a complaint by Eklavya Gaud, the son of BJP MLA Malini Gaud. The next day, Faruqui’s friend Sadakat Khan was held when he went to meet him in court.
The MLA’s son alleged that objectionable comments were made about Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during Faruqui’s comedy show.
Indore-based producer and upcoming comedian, Prakhar, 24, had contacted Faruqui for the show. Faruqui was to be the main act, of about 75 minutes, with Prakhar and Yadav, 24, another small-time comedian, doing five-seven minute gigs each. Priyam, Prakhar’s younger brother, was attending the show. Faruqui came down from Mumbai, while Yadav travelled from Dhar in Madhya Pradesh.
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