Actor Munawar Faruqui Wednesday canceled three of his shows in Mumbai after Hindutva groups threatened organizers. They also waged an online hate campaign against Faruqui and wrote to the Mumbai police to demand that the broadcasts be stopped.
“Public safety is the most important thing to me,” Faruqui said in a tweet. “I don’t want my audience to experience what I am going through.”
Hindutva groups have consistently targeted Faruqui since his January arrest in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, based on a complaint filed by the son of a Bharatiya Janata Party politician.
The complainant alleged that the comedian was going to make reprehensible statements about Hindu deities on his show.
People at the club where Faruqui was scheduled to perform said police arrested him before he actually started his show. Police in Indore later admitted that there was no visual evidence to show that Faruqui had insulted Hindu deities.
The last shows in Mumbai were scheduled for October 29 at a venue in the city’s Borivali district (west) and October 30 and 31 at the Rangsharda auditorium in Bandra (west), according to Indian express.
“We were threatened on Tuesday afternoon by three members of Bajrang Dal … They said this show was against Hindus,” said Purnima Shah, owner of the Rangsharda auditorium. “I told them that the organizer had a censorship certificate, but Bajrang Dal members were still threatening us… They told us they were going to burn the place down, so we decided to cancel the show.
On Tuesday, the Konkan region unit of Vishva Hindu Parishad wrote to the Mumbai police chief to demand that the shows be stopped. The VHP claimed that Faruqui had hurt the feelings of the Hindu community by insulting their deities.
Hindutva supporters also waged an online hate campaign against Faruqui, demanding that his broadcasts not be licensed. #GoBackMunawar was one of the trending topics on Twitter last week.
The intimidation tactics are following a pattern as last month Hindutva groups forced Faruqui to cancel his performances in Gujarat. The Bajrang Dal threatened the organizers in Gujarat with “financial, physical and mental consequences”.
Last week Devnath, head of Hindu’s Gujarat unit Yuva Vahini tweeted: “I have not allowed a single program of this anti-Hindu Munawar Faruqui to take place in Gujarat. Now Mumbai also says #GoBackMunawar.