A day after he was arrested and forced to spend a few hours in a Haryana jail for mocking a self-styled spiritual leader, popular comedian Kiku Sharda called the experience "traumatic, sad and sudden."
The 40-year-old actor, a regular on the hit show "Comedy Nights with Kapil", was picked up from the sets in Mumbai on Tuesday night and arrested for mimicking Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in an episode on December 27.
"The whole experience was traumatic. They didn't even allow me to go home. I just wish everyone can laugh at themselves and have some sense of humour," he told NDTV in Mumbai. He shared that he felt the TV channel had left him in the lurch.
He alleges that he was picked up without summons or notice and jailed.
Amid nationwide outrage, Mr Sharda was also sent to custody for 14 days but released after a few hours in jail, soon after the Dera chief said he "forgave him." But around 10 pm, he was detained again and then released this morning.
"Thankfully I didn't spend 14 days in jail," Mr Sharda remarked, joking, however, that he did feel more secure in jail than outside because of the crowd of Baba Ram Rahim's followers in court. "There was uproar when I came. It was scary."
The comedian, booked for hurting religious sentiment, said he had faced this sort of trouble for the first time in 13 years.
The Dera Sacha Sauda, a sect that has a strong presence in Punjab and Haryana, describes itself as a social welfare and spiritual organisation with millions of followers in India and abroad.
Its flamboyant chief is known as the "guru in bling" for his penchant for garish clothes and jewellery.
Mr Sharda dodged a question on whether he thinks the Dera and its chief lack sense of humour. "It's difficult to identify that thin line with humour," he shrugged. "Had I known, we would have changed bits here and there. I will be more careful with my own research. But the experience won't change me."