Munawar Faruqui

Comedian Munawar Faruqui was arrested on January 1, 2021, after being accused of “insulting” Hindu religious beliefs in jokes that he did not even tell during his show.


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been strategically targeting Indian journalists, activists, and artists—specifically those who speak about the Indian government and the dangerous rise of Hindu ethnonationalism in the country. Activists and human rights advocates have expressed grave concerns over the immense crackdown on free speech in India, according to Wired.

Life and Activism

Stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui was arrested in Indore after a group of Hindu nationalists accused him of “hurting Hindu sentiments,” in reference to a video he posted on YouTube in April 2020, according to Time Magazine. The son of Indore’s mayor, Aklavya Laxman Singh Gaur, was later identified as one of the main perpetrators. He is also a member of the Hindu Rakshak which is affiliated with the ruling BJP. Upon Gaur leaving, the police entered to arrest Faruqui. It was later revealed that the arrest was completely based on the sentiments and words of Gaur and that the police had no evidence that Faruqui had spoken with malice intent against Hindu gods, according to The Indian Express. Eyewitnesses from the show told reporters that Faruqui hadn’t mentioned any religion-related jokes and had not even begun his show when Gaud entered, according to Article 14.

In July 2020, a case was filed against Faruqui in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly making malicious statements against Amit Shah and insulting Hindu religious beliefs in various videos, according to reporting by Scroll. Faruqui was first denied bail, resulting in outcry from the comic community. Fellow comedians and free speech activists urged that his arrest was a complete manipulation of the law, according to BBC.

Charges and Allegations

Faruqui was booked under sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and section 269 (unlawful or negligent act likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code, according to The Hindustan Times.

Current Status

Granted bail

Last Update

Faruqui was granted bail 35 days after his initial arrest, according to BBC.

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