Drop All Charges Against Munawar Faruqui, Demand Eminent Artistes & Writers

Mumbai: Over 100 eminent artistes and writers got together on Friday to demand dismissal of charges levelled against stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui and four others for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

In a joint statement, the likes of Arundhati Roy, Kunal Kamra, Pooja Bhatt and Kalki Koechlin wanted all charges against Faruqui, Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Edwin Anthony and Sadakat Khan to be dismissed.

The quintet was arrested on January 1, following a complaint by a BJP MLA’s son alleging that objectionable remarks had been made about Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a comedy show at Indore on New Year’s Day.

Faruqui was granted interim bail by the Supreme Court and released from Indore Central Jail on February 6.

The joint statement — by Progressive India Collective in partnership with PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection, Freemuse and Reclaiming India — noted that this case reinforces deep concerns around the rights to liberty and freedom of speech in India. The signatories observed every Indian citizen has the constitutional right to free speech and expression, with reasonable restrictions.

“However, through instances like these, it is obvious that most arrests and forms of censorship carried out against artistes are founded on arbitrary grounds and are greatly damaging to artistic and creative freedom in the country,” they said.

Also Read: Comedian Arrested For ‘Insulting’ Amit Shah

Also Read: Out On Bail After 35 Days, Comedian Munawar Has ‘Full Faith’ In Judiciary

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