In India, Hindu extremists are no joke with humor

“Hatred has won, the artist has lost. “ When he wrote this tweet at the end of November, Indian comedian Munawar Faruqui certainly had no heart to laugh. Once again, the show he was to give that evening in Bangalore, southern India, has been canceled. Hindu extremists threatened to disrupt the show. And in this state led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), that of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, the police preferred to cancel the event, calling Munawar Faruqui “Controversial figure”.

Earlier this year, the Muslim comedian spent 36 days in prison for a joke he did not play on stage but that he uploaded in April 2020 to YouTube in a video deleted since. 1is In January, members of an extremist group broke into a café where he was performing accusing him of insulting Hindu gods, as well as the very powerful Amit Shah, Minister of the Interior and right-hand man of the Prime Minister. It did not take more for Munawar Faruqui to be arrested. After more than a month behind bars, the Supreme Court finally granted him bail.

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Today, the young artist of 29 years from the state of Gujarat, in the west of the country, is bowing out. The incessant attacks to which he is the object, will have got the better of his career. In the past two months, Munawar Faruqui has had to give up going on stage twelve times. Including Bombay, India’s entertainment capital, where the Bajrang Dal, a radical Hindu organization, threatened to set the performance hall on fire if Munawar Faruqui’s performance continued.

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The news caused amazement among the public, comedians and part of the political opposition. “If my name was Faruqui, I would never dare to make all the jokes I make about the supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindu bigots”, deplores the comedian Arpit Sharma. Many believe that if Munawar Faruqui is harassed in this way, it is above all because of his religious identity.

Two indies that everything opposes

But other comedians, yet non-Muslims, have also ended up being targeted. A few days after the cancellation of the performance of Munawar Faruqui, another actor had to give up performing in Bangalore. “We can find a form of comfort in the fact that the ruling class is at least trying to oppress with a logic of equality”, launched Kunal Kamra, also in the crosshairs of Hindu extremists for having defended Munawar Faruqui a few days earlier. “If you say anything against the people in power or their policies, you can be sure that you are being targeted and at the rate things are going, soon there will be no one to question the government”, regrets Arpit Sharma.

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In India, Hindu extremists are no joke with humor

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