Actor Kiku Sharda, best known for his role as Palak on Comedy Nights with Kapil, was arrested early on Wednesday from Mumbai. The Haryana Police arrested the actor from Goregaon in Mumbai following the complaint that his mimicry of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on the show had hurt religious sentiments.
Social media erupted in protests after the news of arrest emerged. Many demanded that section 295A of IPC, under which the actor has been charged, needs to go. Social media pointed out the absurdity and frightening impact of the step, and some even petitioned the government to free the actor.
Section 295A needs to go. Or modified. Or something. It gives every religious group ammo to go after anyone.— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) January 13, 2016
Section 295A for the longest time has been used to threaten artists. Even cops sometimes cant help but arrest because of the pressure.— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) January 13, 2016
If we celebrated Halloween widely in India there would be nakabandis checking on who's dressed as whom.— Rohan (@mojorojo) January 13, 2016
These are the "Babas" of our times. Selling themselves as action heroes, while getting comedians put behind bars. This is "Ghor Kalyug"!— रanviर_ डhoरeय_ (@RanvirShorey) January 13, 2016
This is sad beyond words. Oppression of artists to save the religion-based frauds EVEN from jokes! Middle East hi bana do desh ko.— वरुण (@varungrover) January 13, 2016
Heard @kikusharda 's been remanded to judicial custody for mimicking RamRahim on TV! Absurd! RamRahim's 'films' are the real joke, anyway!— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) January 13, 2016
This is insane. https://t.co/rA04AcgEfl— Ashish Shakya (@stupidusmaximus) January 13, 2016
Totally shocked by Kiku Sharda's arrest! Let's fight for #ourfreedomofspeech.— Parmeet Sethi (@parmeetsethi) January 13, 2016
Absolutely ridiculous! Hope @kikusharda comes out of this soon— Kritika Kamra (@Kritika_Kamra) January 13, 2016
Prison nights with Kapil... I don't see why we shouldn't change the title with immediate effect #Sec295A— Ashwin Mushran (@ashwinmushran) January 13, 2016
Followers of the dera chief, however, tweeted their ‘approval’ of the step taken by the police...
Comedian Kiku Sharda arrested on charges of hurting religious sentiments Mocking @Gurmeetramrahim ji,an epitome of Humanity, is unacceptable— IT Wing (@ITwingDSS) January 13, 2016