It was the proverbial slip between the cup and the lip.
A day after a Supreme Court bail order, it took a late night phone call from a Chief Judicial Magistrate to provoke the Indore jail authorities into swiftly making arrangements for the release of the stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui, who is accused of hurting religious sentiments.
Faruqui was granted bail on Friday but he was not released as it was claimed the authorities had not received the court order.
In the call on Saturday night, Indore’s Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) asked the Central Prison authorities in Madhya Pradesh to check the SC's website for the bail order, following which Faruqui was set free, a senior official from the jail administration said on Sunday.
Indore Central Jail's superintendent Rakesh Kumar Bhangre told PTI, "A CJM rang us up on Saturday night. He said if we have not got the SC's official order regarding Faruqui, it can be checked on the apex court's website."
The jail official said they then checked the order which mentioned that all warrants against Faruqui have been stayed.
Eyewitnesses said that the comedian walked out of the jail silently and quietly, possibly to avoid a backlash in the wake of the accusations made against him.
Even after Faruqui's lawyers completed legal formalities in the district court, the jail authorities did not set him free on Saturday evening, contending that a production warrant of a Prayagraj court was pending against him. A couple of hours before Faruqui was released, his cousin Zaid Pathan said they were disappointed by the jail administration's stand.
"Our belief in the judiciary was strengthened after the Supreme Court order," he had remarked.
Faruqui and four others were arrested following a complaint by a BJP MLA's son that objectionable remarks about Hindu deities and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were passed during a comedy show at a cafe in Indore on New Year's Day.