Former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju has slammed the decision to arrest comedian Kiku Sharda, aka Palak, for mimicking the self styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh.
He said, “I fail to understand how mimickry by Kiku Sharda violated secion 295A of IPC which reads:
‘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 citizens of India, 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 three years, or with fine, or with both.’
“It seems that a sense of humour has departed from our country, and freedom of speech and expression can be violated, and sacrificed to intolerance.”
Earlier today, comedian Kapil Sharma had asked the Dera Sachcha Sauda chief to publicly express his solidarity in favour of Sharda.
Sharda, also known as Palak in Comedy Nights With Kapil was arrested on Wednesday for mimicking the godman before being sent to 14-day judicial remand.
Sharma said,”Mera sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji INSAAN se nivedan hai ki is masle me media ke samne aye aur ek kalaakar jo duniya me sirf khushi bantne ka kaam kar rha hai k haq me khade hokar puri duniya me insaaniyat ki ek khoobsurat misaal pesh kre. Aao saath milkar shaamti aur khushi ke liye kaam kre. (I request saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh the human being to come out before media and stand in solidarity with an artist. We artists only spread happiness in the world and he (the godman) should set an example for humanity by supporting an artist. Let’s come together and work for peace and and happiness.)”
Social media users particularly on twitter have registered strong protests against the Section 295 A describing it draconian.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Sharda has now been granted bail.