The supreme court has dismissed the protection from arrest petition moved by journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra against his arrest by Odisha police over alleged derogatory remarks on the Konark temple. According to reports, the 3-judge bench stated that Iyer Mitra’s comments have incited religious sentiments and he cannot be granted bail.
The three judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranajn Gogoi, said, “Your(journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra) comments incite religious feelings. How are you entitled for bail?” https://t.co/fmAAwxF17T
— ANI (@ANI) October 4, 2018
Justice Gogoi had reportedly taken up the matter on an urgent basis after being informed that it is a matter of civil liberty of an individual. A three-member bench in the Supreme Court headed by CJI Gogoi then took up the case for hearing. Arguing in favour of his protection against arrest, when Iyer Mitra’s lawyer stated that his life is in danger, CJI Gogoi reportedly stated that if that is the case, the jail might be the safest place for him to be.
It is notable here that Abhijit Iyer Mitra had stoked controversy after he has shared a Tweet in which he allegedly insulted religious sentiments. Though he had mentioned that his remarks were humorous in nature and not meant to offend, a huge controversy was created in Odisha where the state assembly moved a privilege motion against him. He was detained by Odisha police on 20 September.
Though there were protests and political statements over Abhijit’s remarks, it was also opined by many that he was being targeted because he was a guest of Baijayant Panda, the former BJD MP who was expelled from the party by BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik earlier this year. The state authorities have also launched an inquiry against Panda who had taken Abhijit Mitra and journalist Arti Tikoo Singh on a chopper ride over Chilika lake. Panda’s chopper was seized by authorities in Odisha for alleged violation of norms.
Many prominent personalities on social media have reacted on the SC’s dismissal of Mitra’s bail petition.
The manner, I am hearing, in which @Iyervval‘s bail plea was dismissed by the CJI-led bench was downright flippant and a disgrace to the highest court.
“If your life is in danger, then what better & safer place than the prison.”
Abhijit, you are strong. We are with YOU. https://t.co/0qgGyaD7Zx
— Anand Ranganathan (@ARanganathan72) October 4, 2018
Iyer Mitra was on a trip to Odisha where he was hosted briefly by Baijayant Panda who had personally taken him and Arti Tikoo Singh on a chopper ride over many tourist attractions in the coastal state.