SC rejects bail plea of Abhijit Iyer Mitra, says ‘jail is safest’ place for him


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down the bail of journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra, who was arrested on September 20 for his derogatory remarks on Twitter about Odisha and the world famous Konark Sun Temple.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi dismissed his bail petition, saying his remarks about the temple had incited communal disharmony amongst citizen.

Meanwhile, when Mitra’s counsel said his life was in danger, the apex court said that prison would be the safest place for him and there is no need of protection.

Mitra was arrested in New Delhi last month, days after he posted a video from the temple on Twitter. Pointing to the erotic sculptures of couples in various stages of intimacy at the temple complex, Mitra said: “Can this be a holy place? Not at all. This is a conspiracy against Hindus by Muslims who want to keep us down. Jai Sriram. In our new Ram temple, such obscene sculptures will not be there.”

Soon after, in another tweet he clarified that it was a joke. “Jokes aside this temple is just mind-blowing,” he wrote. “The sculptures are exquisite & it has a great sense of symmetry & gravitas.”

His comments caused uproar in the Odisha Assembly. He was later granted bail on a surety of Rs 1 lakh. A house committee formed by the Odisha Assembly has asked him to appear before it on October 11.

Notbaly, Iyer-Mitra had come to Odisha on September 15, apparently at the invitation of former MP Baijayant Panda. After touring Puri, Konark and Chilika, he allegedly posted derogatory remarks on social media insulting the state, its culture and tradition and the lawmakers.

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