Kiku Sharda and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
Kiku Sharda and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh

There is no space for humour at the cost of religious feelings and beliefs in our country. One might have to pay a heavy price for poking fun, even slightly, at anything related to religion and the same happened with Kiku Sharda.

Kiku Sharda had mimicked Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a TV show, Jashn-e-Umeed. Kiku was booked on December 31, 2015, under section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code (outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief). Even though the comedian had apologised on a social platform to the Dera chief and his followers, he was arrested in January 2016.

Kiku, who was released on bail the next day, had said at a media interaction, "Well, things have been proven in the court and now we all know what he did. Justice happened and it was bound to happen, it's karma. But whatever violence took place (following Ram Rahim's conviction) was really sad. We shouldn't have room for violence, we are peace-loving people, and we should stay in peace."

While other political figures had remained tight-lipped and the whole industry had come out in his support, Aam Aadmi party also criticised his arrest. In a release issued to the media, the AAP had explained its stance, "Aam Aadmi Party condemns the move of the Haryana government. What the BJP-led Haryana government has done is a continuation of the anti-people and anti-democratic values which the party stands for. No religious sentiments should be hurt by in this case."

"The Haryana government is acting at the behest of a self-claimed spiritual guru who...publicly called upon his followers to vote for the BJP in the last Assembly polls. Kiku Sharda has apologised and the matter could very well have been laid to rest but the Manohar Lal Khattar government chose to give it a turn in order to appease its supportive hard-line elements," the party added. 

On the day of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's sentencing, Kiku Sharda had shared a picture with wife Priyanka Sharda and wrote, "Enjoying a peaceful Chinese meal with no monosodium glutamate @mrsfunnybones @priyankasharda3"