Comedians these days have no control over their tongues. Standup comedians have used the stage to draw-in attention of the audience, in order to become famous, or in some cases they exercise their social activism through these forums. However, there cannot be absolute freedom to speech, when one makes loose statements against individuals or deities. And the law of the land has restrictions to such elocution.
That being said, in the recent case of alleged insult to Hindu deities, one Indian comedian Munawar Faruqui is being arrested in the state of Indore along with another 4 members. His name is drawing more attention for being a Muslim. Besides Faruqui, four others arrested persons were identified as Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Edwin Anthony and Priyam Vyas. And these 4 members are not Muslims.
The fact is that, Munawar was hunted since the last year April for the alleged insult against the Hindu gods, and for making comments relating to Godhra incident and Amit Shah. Many even stormed over the internet with the hashtag #arrestMunawarFaruqui, and the Times of India published about this on April 16, 2020. The TOI said: Ramesh Solanki, a Hindutva activist and former Shiv Sena member, filed an online complaint with Mumbai Police against standup comedian Munawar Faruqui for “mocking Sri Ram and Sita Maata”. A Twitter user Sonam Mahajan, who is followed by top BJP leaders, posted the video. She wrote, “Watch one Munawar Faruqui making fun of the 59 dead Hindu pilgrim victims of Godhra train burning and blaming Amit Shah and the RSS for it. If anyone from RSS Bengaluru is ready to sue him, I will be happy to draft the FIR copy and extend all the support.” All these happened in April, 2020.
Now that he is arrested after 7 months is showing that it was the old grudge that has actualized the current arrest. All the accusations against him seems like mere vendetta. Today’s news from the Scroll and the Logical Indian say that there are no proofs for he making any insultive statements against the Hindu gods. The Scroll published on January 4th, 2021 with the heading “‘No video of Munawar Faruqui insulting Hindu deities,’ say police two days after arresting him. Kamlesh Sharma, the town inspector of Tukaganj Police Station, told the newspaper that the video submitted by the complainant showed another comedian making jokes about the deity Ganesh. “There’s no evidence against him [Faruqui] for insulting Hindu deities or Union Minister Amit Shah,” Sharma said.
Since Munawar is a muslim, in today’s context, much of attention is drawn towards his name. But then insulting deities and religious personalities of any religion is forbidden in Islam. The Qur’an says in Al-An’am 6:108, “And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do”.
Muslims do invite mankind towards monotheism, to worship One God Allah, The Creator of mankind. And they are also commanded to warn people against worshiping the creations of God. Hence Muslims don’t worship the prophets, sages, sun, moon, stars, humans, animals, trees or idols. However, they are forbidden from insulting the gods of other religions. Muslims are obligated to speak only with words of beauty and peace. And they are not allowed to even coerce or force others to Islam.
With all the information in hand, I would say that Munawar Faruqui might have touched the wrong chord, but he should never be punished unless proofs are established against him. Let a fair chance be given to prove his innocence, if he is free of all the allegations.