Supreme Court denies journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra protection from arrest, says his comments 'incite religious feelings'

The Supreme Court on Thursday denied protection from arrest to journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, who was accused of making derogatory comments against Odisha's Konark Sun temple, The Leaflet reported.

The bench, headed by newly-appointed Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was quoted as saying by ANI, "Your comments incite religious feelings. How are you entitled for bail?"

Iyer-Mitra, who was briefly arrested in Delhi on 20 September, was previously granted bail on a bond of Rs 1 lakh. A team of the Odisha Police had arrested him in the capital in connection with a case registered against him in Odisha over a tweet he had shared on 16 September with a video commentary from the Konark temple. The police had asked him to join the investigation by 28 September.

The video had garnered heavy backlash, with legislators of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Opposition Congress on 18 September 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."

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."

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Updated Date: Oct 04, 2018 15:28:34 IST