500 tickets sold for Kunal Kamra’s show, now cancelled, in Gurugram
3 men demanded that the show be cancelled because the comic had allegedly made fun of Hindu deities. 3 men reached the venue, threatened to disrupt the show. Those who bought the tickets didn't matter
“Either they will get tired or I will become irrelevant; do not know which one will be sooner,” posted stand up comic Kunal Kamra on Saturday after his show scheduled for September 17 in a Bar-cum-restaurant at Gurugram was called off.
He was referring to the written demand submitted by three office bearers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal in Gurugram (Haryana) for cancellation of the show. The three signatories alleged that Kamra had already been booked for being irreverent to Hindu gods and goddesses. If the show was not cancelled, they would be forced to stage a demonstration, they warned.
The management of the Studio Xo Bar in Sector-29 of Gurugram told the media that two people had reached the Bar and had threatened to disrupt the show if it was not cancelled. “We do not want any trouble or damage to property,” they explained to justify the decision.
Kamra took to social media to point out that the complaint that he made fun of Hindu deities was false and the complaint was not supported by any evidence. There is no substance to the allegation that he made fun of Indian culture either.
What is more, the stand-up comic sarcastically added, “12 of us don’t want the show to happen while 500 have bought tickets to watch the show”. So, what should the authorities do, he asked.
The role of the district administration and the police is being questioned. Gurugram Police, which had earlier failed to protect Muslim worshippers offering Friday prayers in designated public places from vandals, should have taken action against those who had threatened to disrupt the show, felt many.
The show itself could be video-recorded and if anything objectionable had been found, action against the comic could be initiated, said a Gurugram resident. But to stop the show on the suspicion that Kamra could make fun of deities is unacceptable, said others. But they sympathised with the Bar owner and felt he had no choice. Had the police arrested those who issued the threat or the DM issued a warning, the show would not have been cancelled, they said.
This is not the first-time public shows have been cancelled on the basis of vague allegations. Munnawar Farooqui, another stand-up comic, had been arrested in Indore even before he had commenced his show. As recently as on July 30 this year, an event to felicitate International Booker Prize-2022 winner Geetanjali Shree in Agra was cancelled after a police complaint that her book ‘Ret Samadhi’ (Tomb of Sand), published four years ago, hurt religious sentiments. On similar allegations Delhi Police had arrested fact-checker Md Zubair.
On August 19, another show by stand-up comic Munawar Faruqui was cancelled in Bengaluru. The show was cancelled at the last minute as the organisers had not sought permission, deputy commissioner of police (south) P Krishnakanth said
The cancellation came after a Hindutva outfit petitioned city police commissioner C H Pratap Reddy alleging that Faruqui had hurt Hindu sentiments in his shows earlier by making insulting remarks about Lord Ram and goddess Sita.