Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui has been in jail for more than two weeks. Why? Did he crack an inappropriate joke? Well, as the top cop of Madhya Pradesh says, "it doesn't matter."
Munawar was arrested along with four others by Indore police midway during a show held at a cafe in Indore, on the basis of a complaint filed by a fringe right-wing group's leader for allegedly making objectionable remarks against Hindu gods and Home Minister Amit Shah.
But is there any evidence of him insulting Hindu sentiments or Amit Shah?
As Indore East Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri justified, they wanted to catch Faruqui in action based on "oral evidence" from his rehearsal that was overheard by the complainant. Khatri indicated that Faruqui was arrested for the jokes he intended to make, rather than what he actually said in his comedy set.
But strangely, even as many people criticised the arbitrary nature of his arrest, Faruqui's legal ordeals are far from over. Although Faruqui is looking to get a bail hearing in Indore, it's the UP Police that is all prepared to re-arrest him in connection with a case against him from May 2020.
While some say India can't take a joke anymore, others have criticised the police for Faruqui's arrest, saying that he's behind bars for being a Muslim. But what does this indicate about the state of policing in the country?
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