Orissa High Court Grants Bail to Journalist Abhijit-Iyer Mitra
In a big relief to Delhi-based journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, the Orissa High Court, on Wednesday, 5 December, granted him bail after more than 50 days. This came a day after the Odisha government took a call to drop the charges against him.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday evening the state government had said it had “decided not to accord sanction of prosecution in cases where prosecution has been sought for and also decided to take steps to withdraw other cases pending against him by following laid-down procedures.”
Earlier this week Iyer-Mitra, in a writ petition written to the Chief Secretary of Odisha, sought release after being arrested for making 'derogatory comments' on the Sun Temple in Odisha.
Mitra was arrested on 23 October after he posted a video on his Twitter handle, criticising Odisha, Lord Jagannath, Konark temple and Odisha lawmakers.
Mitra shot the video during his visit to the temple with former parliamentarian and his friend, Baijayant Panda. Panda took Mitra and journalist Aarti Tikoo Singh on a chopper ride over the Sun Temple, the Puri Jagannath Temple and the Chilika Lake, drawing criticism across the political spectrum.
Odisha government in a statement issued via the state’s Home Department said,
“Sri Abhijit Iyer-Mitra has made an appeal to the Govt of Odisha to consider withholding sanction to prosecute him in certain criminal cases pending against him. He has appeals ‘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.”
Mitra Hospitalised After Complaining of Illness
Mitra who has been in judicial custody since 24 October and lodged at Jharpada jail, was admitted to a hospital in Bhubaneswar after he complained of illness, PTI reported on Sunday, 2 December.
He was undergoing treatment in the surgery department for an ailment since late Saturday night, Director of Capital Hospital Chandrika Prasad Das told PTI.
(With inputs from Outlook)