Indian TV comedian arrested for ‘offensive’ guru sketch
Published: Jan 15, 2016 12:12 AM
Indian police arrested a popular comedian for offending religious sentiments after he mimicked a controversial spiritual guru on a television show, an official said Wednesday.

Kiku Sharda, 40, was sent to judicial custody for 14 days by a court in northern Haryana state after he was arrested in Mumbai late Tuesday, a senior police officer told AFP.

"A police team arrested the accused at a TV studio in Mumbai late last night following a complaint filed by one of the guru's followers," he said on the condition of anonymity.

The comedian was released on bail later Wednesday.

Sharda, who imitated guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a TV appearance on December 27, has apologized for his act, saying it was only aimed at entertaining audiences.

"I was given a dress, a script to read and directed to act," he was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

Singh, who heads the Dera Sacha Sauda sect, is known as the "guru in bling" for his penchant for garish clothes and jewelry

Dera Sacha Sauda describes itself as a social welfare and spiritual organization with millions of followers in India and abroad.

The 48-year-old guru is already under police investigation for allegedly encouraging 400 followers to undergo castration at his ashram so they could get closer to God.

Many celebrities came out in support of Sharda on Twitter Wednesday, calling his arrest "shocking" and "absurd."

"I don't see our leaders getting arrested for behaving like comedians everyday," fellow comedian Vir Das posted on Twitter.