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Indian comic released from jail after virtual comedy show

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An Indian comedian jailed by India for allegedly making anti-government statements is out on bail this morning for the first time since his imprisonment on January 1.

The Hindu reports stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui quietly walked out of  Indore central jail Saturday night after the Supreme Court granted him bail.

Faruqui’s case has garnered international attention, including in the United States, where nine Indian American comedians held a virtual show Saturday night to show support for Faruqui.

The American Kahani reports Prime Minister Modi’s government accused Faruqui of expressing anti-Hindu religious sentiments. The Modi government has come under increased scrutiny by those who feel it is prohibiting free speech.

Poet, filmmaker, educator and performer Fatimah Asghar emceed Saturday night’s show.

 “Faruqui is one individual, but a young outspoken Muslim comedian. His case encapsulates so much of what is happening in India in recent years,” the American Kahani quoted her as saying. “We have seen rising discrimination and violence towards Muslims and other minorities, towards artists and members of the media, and towards any public figure who dares to dissent against the government. That is why we, as young South Asian Americans, are taking a stand in solidarity with Faruqui.” 

As you might imagine, some of the comics performing at the show targeted the Modi government for its punch lines.

“Munawar got put in jail for jokes, and I can kind of relate because I got excommunicated from the family WhatsApp group when I told them I was planning to pursue comedy!” quipped Yamini Nambimadom.

Sai D urged Kamala Harris to cement her Indian roots by  “passing a law banning the description of dosa as a rice and lentil pancake!”  

The government released Faruqui an hour after the show ended.

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