Abhijit Iyer-Mitra gets bail after brief arrest in Delhi; journalist facing action for 'derogatory' video on Konark temple

Abhijit Iyer-Mitra's arrest could be in connection with his tweet from Sunday with a 'defamatory' video commentary from the Konark temple in Odisha.

FP Staff September 20, 2018 16:19:08 IST
Abhijit Iyer-Mitra gets bail after brief arrest in Delhi; journalist facing action for 'derogatory' video on Konark temple

Journalist and defence expert Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, who was briefly arrested in Delhi on Thursday, has been granted bail on a surety of Rs 1 lakh. A team of the Odisha Police had arrested him in the capital earlier in the day in connection with a case registered against him in Odisha. The police have asked him to join the investigation by 28 September.

Iyer-Mitra was held at Delhi's Nizamuddin Police Station. His lawyer had earlier said they had no idea what he was taken in for as they were not given a copy of the FIR. ANI quoted his legal counsel as saying: "He is being taken to Saket court for remand. We are going there to oppose it. We have not even been given a copy of the FIR, so we can't say what the offences are, who the complainant is or under what sections the case has been registered."

According to an Odisha TV report, the arrest was in connection with a 16 September tweet that Iyer-Mitra had posted. The tweet was a video commentary from the Konark temple. It said:

The video garnered heavy backlash, with legislators of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Opposition Congress on Tuesday demanding action against the journalist for what they said were "derogatory" remarks. Stating that Iyer-Mitra had "ridiculed" the sun temple, BJD MLA Sanjay Dasburma had said: "It (the video) is an insult to the state and its existence. Action should be taken against the man." Odisha TV reported that the Leader of Opposition in the Odisha Assembly and Congress member Narasingha Mishra had said: "There are two video clips that show a non-Odia, RSS man standing in front of the Konark Temple making comments... Abhijit Iyer's remarks have disrespected and hurt the sentiments of the people of Odisha and the Odia language. He should be summoned to the state, and the House should decide on the quantum of punishment." On Thursday, Speaker Pradip Amat accepted the privilege motion in the Assembly and allowed a discussion on the controversy in the House. Twitterati responded immediately to the news of Iyer-Mitra's detainment and spoke out in his support, condemning the police action. A Twitter movement is afoot, with #IStandWithAbhijit beginning to trend on the social media platform:

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