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After Oct cancellations, Faruqui holds show in Mumbai, Cong lends a hand

In October, three shows to be held by Faruqui in Mumbai were cancelled after Bajrang Dal members threatened the owners of the venue where they were to be held. Police reportedly did not assure adequate security.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: December 21, 2021 4:32:47 am
Munawar Faruqui.

AFTER MORE than a dozen cancellations across the country, stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui was able to hold a show, in Mumbai’s Y B Chavan Auditorium, Sunday as the Congress’s All India Professional Congress (AIPC) wing extended him its support.

AIPC president Mathew Anthony said there was no disturbance at all during the show. “We sincerely thank all the torchbearers who believe in the values of the Constitution, freedom of expression of an individual, and freedom of choice to decide the entertainment one would like to consume,” Anthony said, adding that the local deputy commissioner, Hari Balaji N, and the team of Cuffe Parade Police Station provided the show security.

The Congress is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra. In October, three shows to be held by Faruqui in Mumbai were cancelled after Bajrang Dal members threatened the owners of the venue where they were to be held. Police reportedly did not assure adequate security.

Anthony said, “We did not announce about the show as we did not want to publicly challenge anyone. We told ourselves we will facilitate the programme and not politically identify (with it)… Y B Chavan Pratisthan was hired because of its prominence.”

According to Anthony, Faruqui put the details on his Instagram account, and the show got about 125 people. Faruqui could not be reached.

DCP (Zone 1) Hari Balaji N said police provided security outside the Y B Auditorium Sunday. “There were no issues at all.”

Anthony said they had “beautiful debates” on the matter. “We wanted to support Munawar as a political stand, not him personally. Any artist or individual should have creative freedom without fear,” the AIPC leader said, adding that “ruthless criticism of the system” is needed as it helps maintain checks and balance. “Hence it was important for us to support the performer, in this case Munawar, as a symbolic stand,” said Anthony.

The AIPC leader added, “We retain our constitutional right to disagree with any content by expressing our dissent.”

In October, Faruqui’s shows – October 29 at Borivali (west), and 30th and 31st in Bandra (west) – were cancelled despite clearance. In November, after his show in Bengaluru was cancelled, Faruqui had posted on social media, ““Nafrat jeet gayi, artist haar gaya (hate has won, artist has lost). I’m done, goodbye. Injustice.”

He is next scheduled to perform in Pune on January 7 and in Kolkata on January 16.

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