Munawar Faruqui after Mumbai shows canceled
- Shows canceled after members of Bajrang Dal threatened venue owners
- The comic said he was not allowed to work even after being released on bail
- “I get 50 threatening calls a day, I had to change my SIM card three times,” he said.
If the country’s youth can decide who to vote, they can also decide what to watch, stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui told NDTV days after the cancellation of three shows in Mumbai featuring him following threats to Bajrang Dal.
Mr Faruqui, who had been in prison for a month earlier this year in a case accusing him of “insulting Hindu gods and goddesses”, said he was not allowed to work even after the Supreme Court gave him a bond.
“I get 50 threatening calls a day, I had to change my SIM card three times. When my number is leaked, people call me and abuse me,” he said.
The Mumbai shows were canceled after members of the right-wing group reportedly threatened to burn the premises. Announcing the cancellations, Mr Faruqui had tweeted that public safety was most important to him.
“What is happening is unfortunate. A lot of wrongs are happening in this country. The biggest problem is that for these three shows a total of 1,500 people bought tickets a month ago. I feel bad for them. It is a sad reality that many people in this country live with, ”he said.
“I sometimes thought that maybe I was wrong, but after what happened, I realized that some people were trying to take political advantage of it,” he said.
The comic said that “everyone is targeted.” “In my case, they use religion. It scares me,” he said.
Mr Faruqui said following his arrest and release on bail he performed in 50 shows and in 90% of them he received a standing ovation. “The audience doesn’t care who belongs to which religion or which caste. There is no comment on any religion on my shows,” he said.
The stand-up artist said Bajrang Dal members were targeting him by circulating a 10-second clip of a two-hour show.
“You show the clip out of context and say that I insulted (the Hindu gods),” he said.
Mr Faruqui said 80 people make a living from a single show, including drivers, volunteers and guards. “These are people who have been unemployed for a year and a half. I feel bad for them,” he said.
The comedian said he told the venue owners that there was nothing wrong with its content and that they didn’t have to be afraid. “But if someone threatens to burn the place down, to vandalize it, they’ll think. That’s wrong, it’s a free country.”
“The hate won, so the shows were canceled. But until when? We will win,” he said, adding that he “would continue to make people smile.”