After receiving severe backlash, the Odisha government on Tuesday has decided to withdraw cases against defence analyst Abhijit Iyer Mitra, who was arrested in October for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Odisha and its culture.
The decision to grant pardon to Iyer comes after Mitra’s appeal to Odisha’s Chief Minister not to prosecute him in criminal cases. Recently, the Odisha assembly had moved a motion to excuse Abhijit for making derogatory comments against the state. In his petition to the state government, Mitra had requested the Chief Minister to withdraw the sanctions prosecuting him under Section 196 of the CrPC.
Odisha Government accepts Abhijit Iyer-Mitra’s appeal, decides not to grant sanction for his prosecution.
— OpIndia.com (@OpIndia_com) December 4, 2018
“He has appealed ‘to accept his apology and contrition’ in having wounded the sentiments of people of Odisha without intention. He has further mentioned that in consideration of his unconditional apology in having hurt the sentiments of people of Odisha unintentionally “without malice or mal-intent” the Hon’ble Odisha Legislative Assembly have pardoned him on 16th November 2018,” said a statement signed by the special secretary to the Odisha government.
“Taking into account his representation, the government has decided not to accord sanction of prosecution in cases where a prosecution has been sought for and also decided to take steps to withdraw other cases pending against him,” Odisha home department released a statement.
Abhijit Iyer Mithra was recently admitted to a hospital as his health deteriorated due to severe mental trauma he suffered after spending more than 40 days in Odisha’s Jharpada jail.
Abhijit Iyer Mitra was first arrested in September for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of people and making derogatory remarks against the state, the Konark temple and Lord Jagannath. However, he had immediately clarified regarding the controversy soon after it went viral. Iyer-Mitra had also allegedly flown in a helicopter with former BJD MP Baijayant Panda over the Chilika Lake.
Soon after that the Delhi Police had granted him jail but had ordered him to be part of the police investigation. Abhijit citing threat his life did not join the police investigation. He had later moved to Supreme Court for protection from arrest. On October 4, the top court refused to grant him bail, saying jail was the “safest place” for him.
On October 24, he was arrested by the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Police in connection with a criminal case filed for his tweets in 2017. A camp court at the Jharpada Jail in Bhubaneswar had once again declined defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra’s bail plea.