Q. What's the biggest crime in India?
A. Hurting religious sentiments!
As we have seen in the past, whether it’s an advertisement that promotes communal harmony or a comedian cracking a harmless joke, religious sentiments in our country are easily hurt. This time, a bunch of men were so upset with a comedian that he was put behind bars for a joke he was “about to crack”.
Yes, believe it or not, this is exactly what happened with stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, who’s currently in jail because Eklavya Singh Gaur, the chief of Hind Rakshak Sangathan and son of BJP MLA Malini Gaur, "OVERHEARD" jokes that insulted Hindu deities and Amit Shah during "rehearsals”.
Is there any strong evidence against Munawar for insulting Hindu Gods or Union Minister Amit Shah? No.
Does it matter that there is no evidence to prove Eklavya’s claims? No. “It doesn’t matter”, said Indore SP, Vijay Khatri.
But, is there a proof that no such thing happened? YES! This is what one of the attendees had to say about the incident.
So, what did the police do? Booked Faruqui along with four others under Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), Section 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Clearly, hearsay > proof.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court on 15 January adjourned the bail application filed by Munawar even though the Indore Police admitted that there is no evidence regarding these allegations. Six people have spent more than a fortnight in jail for a crime they didn’t commit, at least there’s no proof to back Aklavya Singh Gaur’s claims.
Dear India, the joke is on us, the world's biggest democracy... at least in textbooks.
Video editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan