Comedian and TV actor Kiku Sharda, known for playing Palak in the hugely popular show Comedy Nights With Kapil, has been arrested for mimicking Dera Sacha Sauda leader Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, according to reports, on grounds of hurting religious sentiments.
Actor Kiku Sharda has been sent to 14 days of judicial custody for mimicking Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.— ANI (@ANI_news) January 13, 2016
According to The Times Of India, he will be sent to Haryana for interrogation on this case. Sirsa, in the same state, is where the headquarters of the Dera are located.
Interesting day ..... My profession allows me to be different people . Love it. pic.twitter.com/11Gur4Wihz— kiku sharda (@kikusharda) December 12, 2015
A tweet shared by Sharda, showing him in the guise of Dera Sacha Sauda leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
In late December, after the episode in question aired on TV, Sharda had apologised to followers of the controversial Dera chief, who made headlines last year for starring in two highly-publicised films: MSG - The Messenger and MSG-2 The Messenger.
Doston the act on TV was not to hurt anyone's feelings. My apologies to @Gurmeetramrahim ji and his followers. Let's spread happiness. 🙏— kiku sharda (@kikusharda) December 28, 2015
However, many enraged followers weren't satisfied with Sharda's apology.
U jst did it to ern money bt u hav lost milions of fans_SHAME @ZeeTV wil nvr watch u nymoreDecember 28, 2015
[295A. Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.—Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of 273 [citizens of India], 274 [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 4[three years], or with fine, or with both.]
Comedian Tanmay Bhat, whose comedy collective All India Bakchod faces similar charges for a roast (an insult comedy event) of actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor held in December 2014, tweeted about the inadequacies of the law.
Section 295A needs to go. Or modified. Or something. It gives every religious group ammo to go after anyone.— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) January 13, 2016
Section 295A for the longest time has been used to threaten artists. Even cops sometimes cant help but arrest because of the pressure.— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) January 13, 2016
Number of times ive seen cops go "Sir religion ke bare mein kuch bologe toh hum bhi nahi kar sakte hai kuch"— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) January 13, 2016
Twitter, obviously, had much to say about this development.
Kiku Sharda has been sent to jail for mocking someone? What non sense? Remove these draconian laws. Introduce right to offend!!!— Anuj Singhal (@_anujsinghal) January 13, 2016
Why not put Baba for making such a bad movie? Kiku Sharda is the best entertainer! Shame on Indian judiciary... https://t.co/OPnDjly8OQ— Geet Shrivastava (@ArchieTheRave) January 13, 2016
Understand the outrage of the followers but is the legal system losing it's sense of balance?
It's a comedy show! https://t.co/ixzR0upSBJ— Akash Banerjee (@akashbanerjee) January 13, 2016