Members of Bajrang Dal from Gujarat came to Mumbai, threatened the owner of the Rangshardha auditorium in Bandra which was to host the comedy show Munawar Faruqui, and had it canceled. Sources said Bajrang Dal members also threatened venue owner Borivali, who was also to host Faruqui, resulting in the show being canceled.
The shows were to take place on October 29 at the Borivali Hall (West) and October 30 and 31 at the Rangsharda auditorium in Bandra (West). But the show’s organizers had to abruptly cancel them on Wednesday after right-wing groups waged an online hate campaign against Faruqui and threatened the venue’s owners.
Purnima Shah, owner of the Rangsharda auditorium, said: âWe were threatened on Tuesday afternoon by three members of Bajrang Dal. They said ‘this show is against the Hindus’. I told them that the producers reserve the room and that we do not ask who the artist is. 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. At that point, I called the police, who escorted them out of my premises.
âBefore this incident, two people from Bajrang Dal also threatened my staff by phone. The police then also came and we provided them with the phone numbers of the callers. I gave in writing that we were canceling the show because of the threats, âshe added.
An organizer, requesting anonymity, said: âWe were under tremendous pressure as the police notified us that we would be reserved if a public order issue arose as a result of the act. For the safety of our public, we canceled it. But it’s really sad that an artist is being targeted because of his religion and a joke he made two years ago. Everyone makes mistakes and it has been made clear to the police that no Hindu sentiment will be harmed. “
Manohar Dhanavde, Chief Inspector of the Bandra Police Station, said: âWe have warned Bajrang Dal that action will be taken if this creates a problem. We also served notice on the organizers.
The notice (accessible through The Indian Express) said police had information that the act may contain content that could offend the religious feelings of Hindus or other religions. In such a case, if a public order issue arises due to such content offending religious feelings, action will be taken against the organizers and the notice will be used as evidence against them in court.