The power of the Internet is truly something. A lot of times we see people raise their voices against injustice on social media which gets noticed by people who in turn come forward and support the aggrieved by spreading the message. The awareness ultimately goes viral and reaches the concerned parties who are pushed to take action. But sometimes going the legal route and having faith in the system also works out well.

That’s what happened with stand-up comedian Raunaq Rajani. Raunaq and his wife, Henna Mirchandani, feed about 20-25 strays daily in their locality in Gamdevi, Mumbai. Three years ago Henna was out feeding the dogs with her brother when she was verbally abused by a man who owned a Chinese food stall in the area. He also aggressively assaulted Rajani after he was confronted by him for his behaviour.

Rajani took to his Instagram to share the incident, and the post has since received the attention of a lot of users online. It also brought up conversations about animal cruelty in India and what stray dog-feeders face on a daily basis. Cut to three years later, Raunaq Rajani’s assaulter had to bear the brunt of his actions. The magistrate court found him guilty and sentenced him to one year in prison along with a fine of Rs. 1000.

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Who Is Raunaq Rajani?

A pure bred Bombay boy, Raunaq Rajani is a renowned stand-up comedian and writer. He is celebrated for his sharp and witty insights into everyday life and current affairs using humour. With a background in comedy writing for East India Comedy, Raunaq has finely tuned his comedic skills and cultivated a distinctive comedic style that captivates and amuses audiences.

His unique voice sometimes drops poignant truth bombs and sometimes just leave you with a random joke making you wonder why you’re ever laughing at it in the first place. Raunaq has made notable television appearances on shows such as NDTV’s “Rising Star of Comedy,” “Cyrus Broacha’s The News That Wasn’t,” Comedy Central’s “Stand-Up Showcase,” and Channel V’s “Sprite Teen Till I Die,” among others.

He gained the long-due fame in 2019, when he was one of the contestants on the well-known show Comicstaan. He started posting vidoes on his Instagram and YouTube. His show “RelationShit Advice” is a big hit with multiple seasons out. In this show, Raunaq calls three of his friends from the industry in each episode, and they read questions from those facing issues in their relationships and give unsolicited advice.

The Original Incident

The unwarranted assault on Raunaq took place in July 2021. “Growing up in a boys school I’ve won my fair share of brawls but nothing prepares you to be physically assaulted by a man twice your size in your 20’s” he wrote in his post as he shared the incident on his Instagram. “If you’ve been following me for a while you know that my family and I feed 20+ stray dogs and cats in my area daily. On these (legal) feeding rounds we’ve met some kind folks and met some assholes,” he added.

He mentioned how he and his wife avoid any fight with such people so that they don’t remove any frustration on the dogs when they’re not around. But there is one such troublemaker there who owns a Chinese food shop. “He’s in his late 20’s and is about 40kgs bigger than me. He troubles the dogs, obstructs our feeding, throws water on dogs hiding from the rain, throws sticks at them. Keeping in mind the safety of my dogs, I’ve always taken these issues up with him peacefully and we have moved on” said Rajani.

One day Henna went to find shade for dogs shivering in the rain with her brother. “Taking advantage of my absence he makes lewd gestures at my wife and abuses her with words no one should use with a woman.” A few days later when Raunaq went to feed the strays himself, he firmly yet peacefully confront him about his behaviour with his wife trying to ensure their safety henceforth. But this guy wasn’t looking to reason.

He escalated in no time twisted my hand pinned me to the ground and kept hitting my face. Broke my glasses, broke my watch, broke my beautiful nose” stated Raunaq. He even joked about how that moment made him realise that he needs to join the gym again. But on a serious note, he lodged an FIR at the Gamdevi police station.

He thanked the policemen who “were prompt, cooperative and empathetic.” He also appreciated the kind medical staff at Breach Candy hospital who took great care of him. And in his classic humourous style, he ended his post with a joke.

The Case Update

Three days ago Raunaq posted an update in his case. The judgement had arrived. It said “Observing that instead of taking the law into his own hands, the accused should have lodged a complaint if any obstruction occurred while the victim fed stray dogs in Breach Candy”. The court found the accused, Gaurav Kesarkar, guilty as he assaulted Raunaq and caused him a fracture.

The metropolitan magistrate Nadeem A Patel said “…such type of irresponsible behaviour on petty issue was not expected from the accused. The grievous injury was caused to the victim and if in such type of cases leniency is shown, it will be unjust for the victim.” Kesarkar was found guilty for the charge of grievous hurt under the Indian Penal Code. “The accused has given [a] punch on the face and chest of the informant and caused fracture to middle finger and nose.

The defence tried to showcase Raunaq’s injuries as self-inflicted but the magistrate refused to accept it based on the medico-legal certificate that confirms the fractures. This proved to be a sweet and long-awaited victory for Raunaq. He penned a heartfelt note for all his followers and those who came out in his support.

While this incident was extremely scary, it did not deter Raunaq and his family’s spirit to feed the strays. They continued doing this service from the very next day itself. Everyone from the comedy circuit and creator community also came together to support him and lauded him on taking the legal route.

Raunaq Rajani stand-up comedian dog feeding case assault judgement

This was never about justice for me. It was always about the safety and the right of those stray dogs to be fed at that spot. Please feel free to cite my case if anyone bothers you if you’re feeding” said the brave comedian. He also addressed those who have a problem with stray animals. “I understand that you are not as passionate about them as I may be. But we are on the same page. I also don’t want them on the streets, it is a dog’s life for them” said Raunaq.

Raunaq constantly creates awareness regarding adoption of pets on his Instagram. “…they must be neutered and spayed so they don’t multiply. (Google who your local NGO is or call anyone and they’ll help you figure it out) And if they’re young enough they can even be adopted. So share every adoption post so that there’s one lesser dog on the streets” requested Rajani.

Raunaq also helps facilitate adoptions for strays. If you are someone who is looking to adopt, check out his website here. We salute his efforts!