Odisha High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Abhijit Iyer Mitra, the defence analyst, who had been arrested on charges of offending the sentiments of the people of Odisha by sharing a satirical video about Konark temple on his Twitter account.
Mitra's bail comes a day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha government decided not to accord sanction to prosecute the journalist in certain criminal cases and would also take steps to withdraw other criminal cases pending against him.
On September 16 this year, Mitra during a visit to the century-old Konark Temple posted a satirical video on Twitter allegedly insulting Odisha, its culture, tradition and state legislators. He later wrote an apology letter to the House Committee of Vidhan Sabha and the Speaker of the Odisha Assembly over his sarcastic remarks and other offenses he was accused of.
"Abhijit Iyer Mitra has made an appeal to the Government of Odisha to consider withholding sanction to prosecute him in certain criminal cases pending against him. He has appealed 'to accept his apology and contrition' in having wounded the sentiments of people of Odisha without intention," a press statement from the Department of Home, Odisha government, on December 4 read.
"Taking into account his representation, the Government has decided not to accord sanction of prosecution in cases where the prosecution has been sought for and also decided to take steps to withdraw other cases pending against him," the press statement further stated.
Mitra was first arrested by the Odisha Police on September 20 from Delhi on the charges of hurting religious sentiments. A Delhi court later granted him bail against a bond of Rs 1 lakh and directed him to join the investigation at Konark police station. He moved the Supreme Court for bail, where his plea had been quashed.
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