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India: Comic receives death threats over stand-up video

15 June 2017
Indian stand-up comic Kunal Kamra received death threats over a video of one of his sets that he uploaded on YouTube on 1 March 2017.
Photo: Screenshot from ‘Patriotism and the Government’ video/YouTube

 

Indian stand-up comic Kunal Kamra received death threats over a video of one of his sets ‘Patriotism and the Government’ that he uploaded on YouTube on 1 March 2017, reported First Post on 16 March 2017.

The video begins with a slogan from a student protest in 2016: “India is a democracy, until you criticize it”.

Additionally, the video description states: “Loving your country means asking a lot of questions. Asking for peace, asking for better living conditions, asking for your right to voice your opinion if the taxes you’re paying are not leading to the life you ideally want to live.”

The comedian took to Twitter on 15 March 2017 to expose the threats, saying that people have been posting his address and phone number and he has been added to random WhatsApp groups where people levelled verbal abuse against him.

In an interview with Indian newspaper Mid Day, the comedian said he was used to receiving criticism for his comedy, even in the form of expletives, saying: “If I am entitled to my opinion, others should be as well. I don’t mind brazen language either. If someone want to abuse me to express themselves, that’s fine with me too.”

However, the comedian explained that people began messaging lines that “suggested that people have been tracking” his whereabouts and shows to attack him.

Though he has said he hasn’t felt threatened because people were “hiding behind false identities”, he did warn on social media that he would file a report to the cybercrime police unit.

He also told the newspaper that some of those sending threats had apologized to him publicly after he began speaking about the threats on social media.

“The moment you present an opinion that doesn’t match with the popular one, you are doomed … The moment you joke about people in power, it becomes a case of national pride. How on Earth can people laugh at powerful people when they are only meant to be revered?”

As of the posting of this article, the video has reached over 1.1 million views.

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