Five stand-up comedians held in MP over hurting religious sentiments: Police

Five stand-up comedians were arrested in Indore on Friday for allegedly insulting Hindu gods, goddesses, police said.

Munawar Faruqui, who is from Gujarat, and Edvin Anthony, Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas and Nalin Yadav were performing at a New Year’s event at a café in Indore when a group of Hindu Rakshak Sanstha members entered the venue and created a ruckus. The comedians also allegedly made remarks against Union home minister Amit Shah.

The group accused the comedians of “indecent and disgraceful” remarks against Hindu Gods and Goddesses, customs, and Shah, a police officer said. They took them to a police station, allegedly roughed them up and later filed a First Information Report (FIR) against them.

A video clip of the incident showed the group purportedly manhandling the comedians in a crowd.

Kamlesh Sharma, the police station incharge, said he had no knowledge of the assault.

Hindu Rakshak Sanstha convener EKlavya Singh Gaud echoed Sharma.

The five have been booked under India Penal Code’s Sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 298 (deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 34 (common intention).

According to the FIR, the event at the cafe was organised without permission and no social distancing rules were followed. It added vulgar jokes and provocative remarks were allegedly made to hurt religious sentiments at the event.

Deputy inspector general Harinarayanchari Mishra said the five were arrested on the basis of the FIR. “The accused will be presented before the court today [Saturday]. Police are investigating the case.”

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