The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has lodged a complaint against comedian Bharti Singh in Amritsar, Punjab. Singh has been charged under Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikh community. According to the Tribune, an FIR was registered with the Kotwali police station yesterday.
The complaint is based on a clip that went viral on Twitter over the past few days. In the video the comedian is seen with Jasmin Bhasin joking, “daadi-mooch kyu nahin chahiye? Daadi-mooch ke bade faayde hotein hain! Doodh peeyo, daadi muh mein daalo, sewaiyon ka taste aata hain. (Why shouldn’t you have a beard or moustache? Beards and moustaches have big benefits. Drink milk and put your beard in your mouth. You will taste sewaiyaan.)” Singh continues to talk about how her married friends spend their entire day removing lice from their beards.
The complaint mentions that although no community or group is mentioned in the video, beards and moustaches fall under five Sikh religious symbols known as kakkars.
“Despite being born and brought up in the holy city Amritsar, she had made a deliberate attempt to gain cheap publicity by mocking at the Sikh swaroop (appearance),” SGPC’s additional secretary Partap Singh told the Tribune. “We have received complaints from the Sikh global community and we believe that her statement has hurt the Sikh sentiments. She is liable to face stern legal action so that no one would dare to repeat it,” he continued.
Singh has since issued an apology on Instagram. The comedian said she never spoke against any particular religion or caste and goes on to specify that she has not said anything about Punjabis’ facial hair. Regardless, Singh went on to apologise to any community whose sentiments were hurt by the joke.
Meanwhile, some Sikh groups have staged protests in Amritsar.