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Devastated, Confused & Angry: Munawar’s Friends on Denial of Bail

“I had told Munawar the judiciary would see that the joke wasn’t about religion, I’ll take my words back now.”

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India
3 min read
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Munawar Faruqui’s friends, Sagar, Anish and Saad, are devastated that he was denied bail by the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court on 28 January.

“Sadly we are not very surprised, considering the way the judge spoke during the hearing last time. He said things like people like Munawar 'should not be spared,’ what hope could we have after that? It showed us the courts had made up their minds from the beginning,” his friend, 24-year-old Saad, sounds hopeless over a call with this reporter minutes after the bail application was rejected.

This was Munawar’s third attempt for bail and the first one in the high court.

His friends, who are all stand up comics themselves, said looking back they did not think that the matters will get as tense as they are today.

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23-year-old Anish had told Munawar back in April 2020, when the controversial video had come up, that there was nothing he had to worry about. “I had told him then that the judiciary was logical enough to know that the joke had nothing to do with religion, I will have to take my words back now.”

Anish adds that the police’s investigation seems biased, “They have got witnesses to say what Munawar said hurt religious sentiments of people. But at the same time there were also witnesses who said that Munawar had not said anything at all. If the police’s investigation was not biased, then they would speak to all eyewitnesses right? Why is that not happening? This is not about justice anymore.”

All three said that even though they have their hopes pinned on the judiciary, because of the lack of any other options whatsoever, the had been worried that this is what would happen. “Did you hear the way the judge spoke? The job of the judge is to adjudicate, to listen to all sides, not to form judgments before the arguments for bail even begin right?” asked Anish.

Sagar said that the hearing in the court went about in a way that no one even wants to know the context of what happened in Indore on 1 January, or in the video that has not been deleted since April 2020.

“People are not even trying to understand the context of what had happened. Well alright, it is expected that people will not get it, but for the courts to behave like this is unimaginable. They were and continue to be our only hope,” 26-year-old Sagar said.

Sagar expressed relief for a second, saying that the bail being rejected would mean that Munawar would be taken by UP Police some time later, “We are too petrified of what will happen if he is taken to UP for investigation. If the UP police has him, we cannot fathom what will be done to him in the police stations or the courts there,” Sagar said adding after a few seconds of silence that “Bhagwan hi Munawar ko aage bachayenge (God will save him)“.

Saad, who has been in touch with the family and the lawyers said the family was distraught, angry and confused. “They are very emotional. They are all so shocked and wondering what is it that their child did that he does not deserve to even get bail for,” he said. Saad is quick to add that he can not lose hope. “My only take on this is I cant lose hope, we need to have some hope. In less than a month they have got all these eyewitnesses, I can only imagine what they are capable of doing to keep him inside jail now onwards. Munawar will have to spend several months in jail, that is a reality that is dawning on us.”

After a few deep sighs, Saad asks, “The court order says the duty of citizen is to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood, I am just thinking that there are too many politicians who spread hate in public rallies day in and day out. Nothing is done about them endangering social harmony, but a joke about a song is leading to such acts by various arms of the government. I am petrified for my friend.”

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