Abhijit Iyer Mitra likely to be arrested by Odisha Police

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Bhubaneswar: It looks like the ground is shrinking beneath journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra and the Odisha police could arrest him any time, after the Supreme Court denied him further extension of interim bail period for his alleged derogatory remarks on the Sun Temple at Konark.

According to available information, Abhijit’s counsel has written a letter to Puri Superintendent of Police (SP) seeking police protection for him as he will depose before the House Committee at Room no 54 of Odisha Assembly on October 11.

When asked, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi said that the application seeking police protection for Abhijit Iyer Mitra has been forwarded to DCP BBSR on jurisdictional point of view.

As Abhijit will be appearing before the House Panel in Bhubaneswar, the Commissionerate Police would provide protection, Sarangi further said.

In a statement to the media earlier today, Abhijit’s counsel Nikhil Mehera said that since the apex court has rejected the extension of interim bail period for his client, he will not file a review petition on his behalf. “My client has decided to cooperate with the Odisha Police in the investigation process,” Mehera added.

“Neither we are trying to run away with this nor are we afraid of anyone. In my opinion, whatever remarks my client has made is within the purview of the Constitution which has bestowed the Right to Expression to every individual,” Mehera further said.

Notably, the SC on Thursday rejected the extension of interim bail period to Abhijit citing that his remarks about the temple has incited communal disharmony amongst citizen.

When Iyer’s counsel apprised about a threat to his life, the apex court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “If your life is in danger then what better place to stay than jail? Your life will be secure.”

Mitra was arrested in New Delhi on September 20, 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.

In a series of post, later he went on making derogatory remarks about Odisha’s culture, presiding deity Lord Jagannath and the lawmakers.

Notably, 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.

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