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Here's What You Need To Know About The Indian Law That Let Police Arrest An Actor For Mimicry

Comedy Nights With Kapil actor Kiku Sharda has been taken into custody for 14 days for mimicking preacher Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on a comedy show. IPC section 295A is the fraught law behind the arrest.

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Entertainer Kiku Sharda of Comedy Nights With Kapil has been sent to 14 days of judicial custody for mimicking leader Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

He was charged and arrested under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, which deems deliberate offenses to religious beliefs punishable. The section was codified by British rulers during colonial rule.

According to multiple news reports, Sharda, who plays the character of Palak on Comedy Nights With Kapil, had previously apologised to the preacher and his followers, and has now pleaded innocence, saying he acted according to the script of the show.

The actor issued this apology last month.

Doston the act on TV was not to hurt anyone's feelings. My apologies to @Gurmeetramrahim ji and his followers. Let's spread happiness. 🙏

And here's his latest apology, after his arrest.

I am really very very sorry, says Actor Kiku Sharda after being arrested for mimicking Baba Ram Rahim Singh.

295A has been in the news several times in the past for leading to questionable arrests.

NDTV / Via ndtv.com

In 2012, Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan from Palghar were booked under section 295A for a Facebook post.

One girl posted on Facebook, questioning why the city had been shut down for Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray's funeral. Her friend liked the post. Both were booked under (now scrapped) section 66A of the IT act, as well as 295A for "hurting religious sentiments."

Last year, actors Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, and director Karan Johar were under the threat of the same law for their participation in the All India Bakchod roast.

Everyone who participated in the roast was booked under 295A for offending Christian sentiments, ultimately forcing the comedy group to issue an apology to the Christian community.

"According to sources in Mumbai police, Section 295(A) (hurting religious sentiments) is applied in the case and hence the department will have to send the report to state Home department to get prosecution sanction," reported DNA.

Outraged Indians are speaking up in support of Sharda and against section 295A.

Don't outrage about this instance. Attack the vile colonial-era law. Sec 295A on "religious sentiments" must go. https://t.co/wrLBNVcG63

Asking again: how has @kikusharda been charged under 295A when the Dera Sacha Sauda is not a religion? @MumbaiPolice @CPMumbaiPolice

Existence of 295A alone is sufficient to prove how modern and progressive society we are. What a sad state of a democratic republic.

Section 295A needs to go. Or modified. Or something. It gives every religious group ammo to go after anyone.

Section 295A for the longest time has been used to threaten artists. Even cops sometimes cant help but arrest because of the pressure.

This is sad beyond words. Oppression of artists to save the religion-based frauds EVEN from jokes! Middle East hi bana do desh ko.

British Rule Law.. 1927.. Nobody Tried To Remove 295A & Many Such Outdated Laws Since 1947! Why? https://t.co/ZHHHyMnCTI

UPDATE:

Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh accepted Kiku Sharda's apology and the latter was let out on bail. However, Sharda has since been detained again, as there was also a case registered against him in a separate district for mocking the guru.

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