Comedian Apoorwa Kshitiz Singh has been released on date.
Ganga Prasad Paudel, chief of the District Attorney’s Office, Kathmandu, said that Singh was released from custody on Thursday as he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Singh was admitted to Bir Hospital on Tuesday after complaining of discomfort. He is currently receiving treatment in the hospital’s COVID ward.
Police have, however, yet to complete their investigation into complaints against Singh, Paudel said.
Singh was initially remanded to custody for 10 days. On Wednesday, police were granted five more days to complete their investigation.
Singh was arrested on August 28 after some activists lodged complaints against him at the District Police Range Kathmandu accusing him of insulting the Newar community in one of his stand-up comedy acts.
The activists have filed four separate complaints against him under Section 165 (Prohibition of undermining social rites and rituals), Section 166 (Prohibition of untouchability or discriminatory treatment on ground of caste) and Section 168 (Prohibition of degrading or inhuman treatment) of Chapter 10 (Offenses Relating to Discrimination and Other Degrading Treatment), and Section 65 (Prohibition of acts prejudicial to public tranquility) of Chapter 2 (Offenses against Public Tranquility) of the Nepal Penal (Code) Act, 2017.
A YouTube channel called Comedy Cafe had uploaded a video of Singh’s stand-up comedy titled “Newarko Parampara” (Newar’s Tradition) on August 26. However, the video was removed within 24 hours following criticism as many people from the Newar community objected to it and accused Singh of mocking their language, food and culture.
Singh later apologized for it through Facebook, but some activists still lodged complaints with the police demanding action against him. He was subsequently taken into custody for investigation.
The activists had agreed to get Singh released after holding discussion with his family at the Police Range on Sunday. They had also prepared a letter which stated that they had forgiven Singh for his mistakes and requested the police to release him. Therefore, he was expected to be released on Monday itself. But the police refused to let him go saying there were multiple complaints against him and they had yet to prepare the investigation report.