Police arrest comedian Apoorwa Singh again, likely to be released todayPolice say the comedian was arrested as the case against him is still under investigation stating that he was earlier released on bail due to Covid-19 infection.
Amid the debate over the arrest of comedian Apoorwa Kshitiz Singh and keeping him in custody for 12-days curtailing freedom of speech, police again on Monday arrested the comedian.
Apoorwa was arrested on August 28, after Kathmandu District Court issued an arrest warrant for his allegedly insensitive and derogatory comments on the Newa Community.
He was arrested after multiple complaints were lodged against him for making derogatory remarks about culture and tradition of the Newar community during his shows
Later on September 8, the police had released him on bail after he was infected with Covid-19.
“We released him as he was infected with the Coronavirus but the case involving him was still under investigation. Now, the documentation part from the police is over,” said Dinesh Raj Mainali, superintendent of police at the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range. “He was not released on Tuesday because it was a public holiday, he will most probably be released today.”
Meanwhile, in conversation with the Kantipur Daily, the sister paper of the Post, Apoorwa’s father Jaishankar who had reached Teku Police Station on Monday to settle the case, however, said he was worried about his son following the police’s recent move to re-arrest Apoorwa.
“We had reached the police office hoping to settle the case. Instead the police arrested my son. This has panicked me more,” said Jaishankar, 58, who is the principal of Mahadev Janata Model Higher Secondary School in Sarlahi.
Responding to a query regarding Jaishankar’s concern, Mainali said police have ‘no malafide’ intention regarding Apoorwa’s arrest.
“From the police side the case is closed but it’s all about the court's decision,” said Mainali.
On August 27, Apoorwa had apologised for his performance through his Facebook page, blaming his lack of research and poor knowledge for his trespass against the Newa community.
“I too have begged numerous times in front of those who lodged complaints against my son, but no one has listened to me,” said Jaishankar.
Achyut Neupane, chief of the District Attorney’s office in Kathmandu said Apoorwa’s case was not settled before Dashain as he was infected with Covid-19 and he was released on a bail.
“Now it is the Kathmandu District Court that will make a decision regarding his case, we have already sent his file to the district court,” said Neupane.
Apoorwa was arrested based on the National Penal (code) Act, 2017. Clause 65 of the code states that no person, by words, either spoken or written, shall discriminate against another on the ground of religion, colour, caste, community or language, or disturb social harmony.
Although the society was divided over his performance, many have termed that arrest of the artist and jailing him for his performance, an attack on the freedom of expression indicating how intolerant Nepali society has become.
Last time, in his conversation with the Post advocate Tanka Aryal, a Right to Information campaigner had termed the arrest of Kshitiz an ‘attack on freedom of expression.’
Article 17 of the constitution states that no person shall be deprived of his or her personal liberty except in accordance with the law. It also guarantees freedom of opinion and speech.