This Article is From Jul 13, 2020

Action Likely Against Comedian Over Shivaji Comment, Her Abusers Arrested

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said action would also be taken against those who abused Agrima Joshua online and threatened her with rape

Action Likely Against Comedian Over Shivaji Comment, Her Abusers Arrested

Agrima Joshua has apologised and deleted the video deemed offensive

Mumbai:

Stand-up comedian Agrima Joshua, who received rape threats after a 2019 performance was claimed by some to have insulted Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, may face legal action if she is found guilty of insulting a state, and national, icon, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.

Action has, however, been taken against those who harassed and abused Ms Joshua online and threatened her with rape, he added.

Mumbai's Cyber Crime Police Station has booked and arrested Umesh Dada, alias Imtiaz Shaikh, a resident of Palghar district, for sexual harassment and other offences after he an abusive video.

Police in Gujarat's Vadodara have acted against one of several men who abused and issued rape threats.

"Regarding stand-up comedian Agrima Joshua's comments on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, we will decide on action after taking legal opinion on the matter," the Home Minister said.

"But we have acted against Umesh Dada, alias Imtiaz Shaikh, for his comments on a woman. His offensive comments have been dealt with by legal action," he added.

Many have spoken in support of Ms Joshua, including fellow comedian Vir Das, calling out these threats and demanding action, particularly after she apologised and deleted the video.

"We have potholes on the streets, there are no beds available in hospitals and women are not safe... but all of it will be discussed later. First of all, how can this comedian speak like this. First action should be taken against her," Mr Das said in a video statement.

"And then usually some famous person will join in saying this joke is offensive too and then a huge community will say that's offensive, that's offensive, that's offensive. And then all of you wait (in the video he takes a swipe at someone making a speech but not taking questions from the press over a phone call). And you have taught that comedian a lesson. That you will not tolerate what is offensive," he said.

Earlier Agrima Joshua issued an apology for her comments.

"I would like to apologise to everyone from the NCP, Shiv Sena, Congress and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena who has been hurt by the comments. I could not personally apologise as I stay in (a coronavirus) red zone but I hope you will accept my apology," she said in a video posted online.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's office, Shiv Sena leader and cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray, Mr Deshmukh, Power Minister Nitin Raut (who is from the Congress) and MNS chief Raj Thackeray were tagged in that post.

Despite Ms Joshua's apology, tensions continue to run high in Mumbai over this incident.

On Saturday an auditorium in the city's Khar area was attacked because it was the venue where Ms Joshua performed last year and made the unfortunate comments.

She had remarked on a planned statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea.