Comedian Kiku Sharda--who made a career out of crossdressing on TV as a loud, vulgar, simpleton called Palak--is in jail thanks to fans and followers of Gurmeet Rahim Singh Ji Insaan, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief. While he may have mocked and mimicked several public peronalities as a part of his job as a comedian, he seems to have picked the wrong person this time. During a year-ender show aired on Zee TV on 27 December, as a part of a sequence that spoofed 'spiritual gurus' like Radhe Maa and Baba Ramdev, Sharda played Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
Before the sequence kicked off, hosts Gaurav Gera of 'Shopkeeper' fame and Ali Asgar, spoke about rising inflation and how 'baba jis' have been taken advantage of beleaguered Indians. Radhee Maa was called 'Fayde Maa', Asaram Bapu was referred to as 'Nirasharam Bapu' and Gurmeet Ram Rahim was referred to as the 'insaan' (human) who acts like Salman Khan.
The song and dance sequence that followed mocked several of these 'spiritual gurus'. Sharda's turn came after TV actor Pooja Banerjee danced to 'Radha On The Dance Floor' in a very obvious reference to Radhe Maa.
Then Sharda, dressed quite convincingly like Gurmeet Ram Rahim is in his films Messenger of God, descends on the stage in a golden bike in the shape of a lion, chanting the following words- "Dhan, dhan, dhan, bas tera his asra (money, money, money, we can trust only in you)". He then dances to a medley of songs, interspersed with dialogues mimicking the Dera chief.
The one-minute sequence is followed by a spoof on Baba Ramdev.
Sharda has now been arrested twice for the one-minute spoof. A Dera spokesperson told HuffPost India that the act was offensive. "It was unquestionably offensive and seems to be part of a pattern of meaningless defamation of our Guruji that has been going on for a long time."
A colonial-era law that protects "religious sentiments" allows all manner of cults and followers to intimidate critics and mimics.
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