Shubham Mishra’s abuses and threats to stand-up comedian Agrima Joshua have incensed many and the issue was taken up by several celebrities too.
Criticism is not new for artists. But when it comes in the form of abuses and rape threats, it turns into something far more sinister and shows the intolerance pervading Indian society.
Mumbai-based stand-up comedian Agrima Joshua has been at the receiving end of rape threats and abuses for the past two days over a clip from a gig she hosted in 2019. In the video, Agrima speaks about Chhatrapati Shivaji’s upcoming statue in Maharashtra and some funny things about it she read on the Q&A website Quora.
Joshua in her performance said that a user on Quora had written that the Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue will have GPS tracker and will shoot laser rays out of its eyes to kill Pakistani terrorists in the Arabian Sea.
One year later, the video from Joshua’s gig has gained notoriety, shared widely on social media with several people accusing her of disrespecting Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji.
@MumbaiPolice dear Mumbai Police please help https://t.co/d9r71XKmOI please her liberal friends, a so-called comedian insults Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj!
This woman is a stand up comedian and her name is
Agrima Joshua. There may be some legal action against this woman.? pic.twitter.com/u8cysU26PF
— Nityanand Devendra (@NityanandDeven2) July 9, 2020
The video was reportedly part of a sketch Joshua had performed in April last year at a cafe in Mumbai’s Khar (West). Angry social media users also shared details of the cafe’s employees, while members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) allegedly barged into the café on Saturday and vandalised property.
Bowing to growing demands for action against Joshua, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh asked police to take legal action against the comedian and urged everyone to maintain calm, saying that the law will take its course.
In a video posted on Twitter, Joshua apologised for hurting the sentiments of the followers of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and even cut the section that sparked controversy out of the larger YouTube video.
While the part of her performance where she highlighted some funny answers on Quora about the Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue was a hit at the government for splurging hard-earned taxpayers’ money, her joke did not go down well with many, especially with an Instagram “influencer” Shubham Mishra who lives in Gujarat’s Vadodra.
Shubham Mishra, whose Instagram bio says “Bekhauf Bindaas Bebaak” (fearless, carefree, bold), posted a video on his handle wherein he hurled the vilest of abuses at not only Agrima Joshua but also her mother and sister.
Seated inside a car a la Bigg Boss fame Hindustani Bhai, Shubham was quite fearless and bold as he said that he explained in graphic detail that he will “rape her from behind” in such a way that is not worth being written about.
This is a much toned-down version and not even half of what Shubham Mishra actually said. Oh and he also ends his rant by saying he respects women.
WARNING: Video contains racial, abusive slurs and can be disturbing for some viewers
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) July 11, 2020
Shubham Mishra’s abuses and threats to Agrima Joshua have incensed many and the issue was taken up by several celebrities such as Mallika Dua, Swara Bhasker and Kunal Kamra who urged the Mumbai and Gujarat Police as well as the National Commission for Women to take strict action against him. Hundreds of netizens have also clamoured for his arrest, with #ArrestShubhamMishra trending on Twitter for the greater part of Sunday.
Soon Mishra deleted the video from his Instagram account, but he still stands by his words. He went ahead and put up a video on his YouTube channel with a justification for the unspeakable abuses and threats he hurled at Joshua.
“My intention was not that. The public is taking it on the wrong track. I am apologising for the video I made in anger. But I am absolutely not ready to believe that I gave rape threats to anybody. My intention was not that. I don’t have a loose character,” Mishra justifies in his YouTube video.
After multiple complaints online, the Vadodara Police on Sunday evening said it has taken a suo moto action in the matter and detained Shubham Mishra. Police said it has initiated a legal process for registration of FIR against him under relevant section of IPC and IT act.
“Vadodara City Police took suo moto action in respect of an abusive, threatening video which was uploaded and shared on Social media by Shubham Mishra. We have detained him and initiated legal process for registration of FIR against him under relevant section of IPC and IT act,” Vadodara Police said in a tweet.
Vadodara City Police took suo moto action in respect of an abusive, threatening video which was uploaded and shared on Social media by Shubham Mishra.
We have detained him and initiated legal process for registration of FIR against him under relevent section of IPC and IT act. pic.twitter.com/XM6J8y4nDx
— Vadodara City Police (@Vadcitypolice) July 12, 2020
The National Commission for Women (NCW) also sought immediate action from Gujarat Police against Mishra for hurling abuses and giving rape threats to Joshua on social media.
In a letter to Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) Shivanand Jha, the NCW said it has been tagged in a video posted on Twitter in which the man can be seen hurling abuses and giving rape threats to the woman.
The Gujarat Police has acknowledged the incident on Twitter but is yet to publicly share any details on whether any action has been taken against Mishra as of yet.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh too on Sunday addressed the complaints against Mishra’s video and said Mumbai Police will take appropriate legal action against him as per rules.
“Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj taught us to respect women. But if someone is using/threatening the wrong language about women, then there is a law for them. @MahaCyber1 verify this video. @CPMumbaiPolice take appropriate legal action against the person in the video as per the rules,” Deshmukh said in a tweet.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj taught us to respect women.But if someone is using/threatening the wrong language about women, then there is a law for them. @MahaCyber1 verify this video. @CPMumbaiPolice take appropriate legal action against the person in the video as per the rules. https://t.co/4zxwOTIh0r
— ANIL DESHMUKH (@AnilDeshmukhNCP) July 12, 2020