BJD MP Anubhav Mohanty has warned Odisha Television Network of dire consequences for allegedly running “regular and unvetted pieces” on him since years. The National Spokesperson of the BJD and an elected representative from the Kendrapara Lok Sabha Constituency, Anubhav Mohanty warned Odisha TV to remember what happened to defence analyst Abhijit Iyer Mitra when he visited the Konark Temple.
Threatening legal action against the news network, Anubhav Mohanty said, “OTV has compromised the ideals of journalism long ago. Having run regular and unvetted pieces on me since years, OTV has been reduced to a mere propaganda channel only to fulfil B.Panda’s dirty political agendas. It’s high time they were taken to the cleaners the legal way.”
The B.Panda referred to by the BJD MP is presumably Baijayant Jay Panda, national vice-president and spokesperson of the BJP, who had made the switch from BJD due to personal differences within the party. Mohanty accused the OTV of engaging in a witch-hunt against him, which he called “unfair and downright unprofessional”.
Accusing OTV, headed by Mrs. Jagi Mangat Panda, of being at the “forefront of all that is wrong with the media today,” Anubhav Mohanty announced that he was initiating legal proceedings under sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code to “make the Channel answer for their mistakes”. He accused them of airing an unverified clip that supposedly throws doctors into the “crossfire”.
In what can only be interpreted as a threat, he warned OTV, “I understand the need to mimic one’s master’s knack for running unchecked propaganda, but here’s a reminder- this is ODISHA. If you want an indication of what happens to people who- mess with ODIAS- ask your friend who visited our Konark Temple.”
The ‘friend’ Anubhav Mohanty was referring to can be safely said to be Abhijit Iyer Mitra. The defence analyst was arrested by Odisha Police on the 23rd of October 2018 for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus through his derogatory comments on the Konark Sun Temple and Odisha during his visit to the Temple.
Abhijit Iyer Mitra was accused of hurting Odia pride through his video and he was made to languish in jail for weeks. His health deteriorated after he was made to spend over 40 days in prison and he had to be admitted to the Hospital. Finally, on the 4th of December 2018, the Odisha Government accepted his apology and decided to withdraw the sanction for his prosecution.
The BJD MP invoking the case of Abhijit Iyer Mitra in reference to his legal threat against OTV betrays his desire to censor media coverage that are critical of him and does not bode well for a healthy democracy.