The BJP’s Telangana floor leader T Raja Singh on Thursday, 11 August, sought assurance from the TRS-led Telangana government that no jokes on Hindu gods would be cracked by stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui during his Hyderabad show on 20 August, and threatened violence if it happened.
“KTR (Telangana IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao) has invited him to Hyderabad and assured him of protection. The state government has to assure that Munawar Faruqui will not crack any jokes on Hindu gods and hurt our sentiments,” the BJP legislator from Goshamahal told South First.
Singh added, “If Faruqui makes jokes on our gods during his Hyderabad show, I will personally go to the venue and smack him.”
He also said: “If our sentiments our hurt, we will burn down the venue. The TRS government and the state police will be responsible.”
He said, “Faruqui has insulted Bhagwan Ram and Maa Sita by using derogatory terms against them. We are not going to let such people perform in Hyderabad.”
Earlier this week, Singh wrote to the Telangana Director General of Police (DGP) urging him not to allow the stand-up comedian to perform in Hyderabad.
Singh wrote, “Hindus will come out on the streets if Faruqui’s show is not cancelled in the city.”
Faruqui’s latest show is named titled Dongri to Nowhere. The stand-up comedian had announced a performance in Hyderabad in January, but the show was cancelled due to a rise in Covid-19 cases filed by the Omnicron variant.
The announcement was made after KTR invited him and another comedian — Kunal Kamra — to perform in Telangana’s capital city in December 2021.
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Rao, in a jibe at the BJP-led Karnataka government in December last year, after Faruqui’s show was cancelled in Bengaluru, had said, “We are truly a cosmopolitan city. In our city, stand-up comedians get an open invite. We do not cancel shows of Munawar Faruqu or Kunal Kamra just because we are not aligning with them politically. We truly are welcoming.”
Controversy around Munwar Faruqui
The Madhya Pradesh Police on New Year’s Eve in 2020 arrested Faruqui claiming that his rehearsals indicated that his jokes would hurt religious sentiments.
Faruqui was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class). The Supreme Court granted him bail in this case in February last year.
After being released from jail, several shows of his shows were cancelled in the country following threats from right-wing organisations.