The Prayagraj Police in Uttar Pradesh has submitted a production warrant in an Indore court for comedian Munawar Faruqui in connection with a case from May 2020. Munawar has been behind bars in Indore since his arrest on January 1 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a programme.
After the MP police admitted having no evidence against the comedian, UP police have now sought his custody in connection with a May 2020 case registered for 'insulting' Hindu deities and Union home minister Amit Shah.
"Uttar Pradesh police has indeed filed a case against his client but a copy of their remand application has not been made available yet," Munawar's lawyer, Anshuman Tiwari told The Wire.
Timeline Of Events
Munawar Faruqui was arrested along with four others on January 1 for allegedly insulting and making indecent remarks on Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a New Year show in Indore. The four others arrested include Prakhar Vyas, Priyam Vyas, Nalin Yadav, and event coordinator Edwin Anthony.
The arrests were made based on a complaint filed at the Tukoganj police station, by Eklavya Singh Gaur, son of a local BJP legislator Malini Laxman Singh Gaur.
No Evidence, No Case Diary
It must be noted that SHO of Tukojiganj police station Kamlesh Sharma had admitted that the police had not found any evidence against the comedian.
The Indore Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri also said that Munawar had not made any jokes about Hindu deities, or even begun his performance when he was arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police. "The comedian was arrested only on the basis of claims made by a Hindutva vigilante group," the cop said.
Khatri said that the arrest was made on basis of a complaint by Eklavya Singh Gaur, who said he had overheard jokes during rehearsal. However, the cop, said that the lack of video evidence "was not a concern".
On January 15, the hearing on Munawar's bail petition was extended as the Tukojiganj police failed to present the case diary in the court. The Indore bench of the Madhya High Court deferred the bail hearing to next week on January 25.
Case Transferred To UP Police
In the latest development, the case is now being transferred to Uttar Pradesh Police. After the MP police failed to furnish any evidence, the UP police have now sought Munawar's custody citing a case lodged against him at George Town police station on April 19 last year by local lawyer Ashutosh Mishra.
The case was lodged under IPC sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), and sections 65 and 66 of Information Technology Act.
"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," investigating officer Inspector Dhakeshwar Singh said.
"The majority part of the investigation has been completed, including recording the statements of witnesses. The statement of Munawar could not be recorded," Singh said.