Indian comedian Munawar Faruqui made his first social media post after being in police custody for more than a month. In an Instagram post, which was a picture of himself smiling, he chose a rather fitting caption saying in Urdu, “Let the darkness inside me complain. I’ve made lakhs of people laugh, lighting up their faces.”
Faruqui, 29, was arrested for allegedly “insulting Hindu Gods and Goddesses” during a show. The complaint, lodged by a BJP MLA’s son over a show in Indore on January 1, alleged that he told a joke blasphemous towards Hindu deities.
The comedian walked out of a jail in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore late Saturday night, a day after the Supreme Court granted him bail last Friday. The court had also issued notice to the Madhya Pradesh government and put on hold a warrant against him in Uttar Pradesh.
Faruqui was denied bail thrice, by lower courts. Refusing him bail on January 28, the Madhya Pradesh High Court had said the possibility of more “incriminating material” could not be ruled out as investigations were still on.
The stark contrast was noticed by social activists, progressive Indians and anti-BJP groups; the firebrand pro-BJP anchor Arnab Goswami was instantly granted bail after his arrest and the courts harshly remarked that individuals can not be held indefinitely while the police have no proof. On the other hand, Faruqui had to fight tooth and nail for his bail.
Independent commentators, political scientists and democracy activists have cited concerns about the Indian judiciary bowing down to the popular far-right Hindutva ideology.