Indian court grants bail to comedian accused of insulting Hinduism

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A signboard is seen outside the premises of Supreme Court in New Delhi, India, September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/Files

NEW DELHI – India’s top court on Friday granted interim bail to a stand-up comedian who was jailed for more than a month over allegations of insulting Hindu deities during a show, court officials said.

The comedian, Munawar Faruqui, 30, was arrested early last month following a complaint by the son of a politician from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleging that he had made objectionable remarks about Hindu deities and the interior minister, Amit Shah, during a show at a cafe in the city of Indore.

Stand-up comedy has become hugely popular in India in recent years but some comedians have come in for criticism for poking fun at Modi’s Hindu nationalist party and its policies.

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Faruqui is among many who have recently had to defend themselves against accusations of challenging a law that protects religious beliefs.

In his plea, Faruqui said police did not conduct investigations or collect any evidence before arresting him.

On Friday, a Supreme Court bench said the allegations against Faruqui were vague and granted him interim bail.

Faruqui was not immediately available for comment.

Last month, creators of a show on Amazon’s streaming platform were charged with offending religious sentiments.

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