Kathmandu: Standup comedian Apoorwa Kshitiz Singh is in custody. He was arrested on the charge of making derogatory remarks about the Newari culture and people in his comedy performance.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Bharat Bohra informed that Singh was taken into custody by District Police Range, Kathmandu on Sunday.
Police apprehended Singh after several Newari people marched to the Metropolitan Police Range in Kathmandu to file a case against him for the alleged hurtful, insensitive and disparaging comments made against them and their culture.
The comedian’s show featuring the hurtful comments received a lot of backlashes after it was posted on YouTube, which quickly made the video viral as a result of the discourse surrounding it. The comedian discussed Newari people in the video, during which he made jokes about Newari tradition, especially about the accent of Newari people, their food, and their culture.
The video, which was titled ‘Newar ko Parampara’ has been deleted from the Comedy Cafe‘s YouTube Channel. The video discussed topics such as Newari cuisine, Newari language, Newari dialect, comments about Bel Bibah etc. The outrage was swift, and the comedian quickly posted an apology video on his social media.
Singh apologized and said that it was never his intention to hurt anyone. “I made a mistake while trying to amuse people. It was never my intention to hurt the feelings of the Newari community. I did not realize the repercussions that my words could have. I will be careful to do more research in the future. I sincerely apologize to everyone,” Singh said.
Despite being deleted from YouTube, a portion of the video was widely spread on Facebook, where the comedian faced severe criticism and backlash from both Newari and Non-Newari people. Many called for legal action to be taken against Singh. Eventually, he was arrested by the police on Sunday.
There were also several remarks made against Singh and the Madheshi people due to racial motivations, which sparked further anger among all communities involved. On the morning before his arrest, Singh talked about how he was receiving hateful messages and death threats. “Why can’t you guys understand that making people laugh is my work? Everybody makes mistakes during their jobs, why can’t you forgive me for this one mistake?” he said in his social media statement. He also added, “I’ve realized that the ones who make others laugh are the ones who have the most sadness in their lives.”