UP Police submit production warrant for Munawar Faruqui

Warrant submitted before an Indore court to seek custody of the comedian in connection with a case from April 2020

Image Courtesy:livehindustan.com

Uttar Pradesh police have submitted a production warrant before an Indore court, seeking custody of comedian Munawar Faruqui in connection with a case from April 2020, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. The Prayagraj police submitted the warrant on Saturday before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Indore and the city’s jail authorities. Faruqui is lodged in the Central Jail, stated the news report quoting Shishupal Sharma, the station house officer of George Town police station.

Faruqui was arrested on January 1 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a stand up comedy programme and has been in custody in Indore since then. According to news reports, a case against the comedian was filed by advocate Ashutosh Mishra in Prayagraj on April 19, 2020. He was charged under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 65 and 66 of the Information Technology Act, 2008.

It was stated in the complaint that there was a video on social media where Faruqui allegedly made derogatory remarks against Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and also that he allegedly tried to create hatred between communities. It was also alleged by Mishra that Faruqui hurt religious sentiments by making remarks against Hindu deities in another video.

However, according to The Indian Express, Rajesh Kumar Bhangre, the superintendent of Indore jail has said they were yet to receive any production warrant but will seek the court’s opinion in case it is received. Bhangre said: “Once the court grants permission, Munawar’s custody will be handed over to UP [Uttar Pradesh] police.” According to Faruqui’s lawyer in Madhya Pradesh High Court Anshuman Shrivastav, they will seek anticipatory bail soon. It was reported on January 15, that the  Madhya Pradesh High Court adjourned Faruqui’s bail plea after the police failed to produce the case diary. The matter was then listed for hearing on January 22. A police official was quoted in The Scroll stating that  Faruqui who was arrested after his performance at the Monroe Cafe in Indore, as he had allegedly “ mocked Hindu gods and goddesses,” in the show.

But on January 4, it was reported that the Indore Police said that there was no visual evidence to prove those allegations. Still the courts have rejected his bail pleas twice, because his release may “disrupt law and order”. He remains in jail on the basis of a complaint filed by Eklavya Singh Gaur, of a Hindutva group named Hind Rakshak Sangathan. It has been reported that Gaur is the son of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Malini Gaur. Four others: Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, Edwin Anthony and Priyam Vyas, were also arrested on similar charges and Faruqui’s friend Sadaqat Khan was arrested for allegedly making abusive remarks about Gaur, reported Scroll.

In the allegations related to the 2020 video the investigating officer Inspector Dhakeshwar Singh was quoted by Indian Express saying: “On coming to know that Munawar Faruqui is lodged at Indore Jail, we moved a local court and obtained his production warrant. On January 7, we served the production warrant at Indore jail and submitted another copy at a court in Indore.” Singh said they tried to locate Munawar during the investigation, but failed to reach him as the FIR did not have the name of Faruqui’s father and the comedian’s address mentioned in it was found to be wrong. According to news reports the police have said that while the major part of the investigation has been completed, Faruqui’s  statement was yet to be recorded.


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