Journalist arrested for insulting temple, gets bail later

New Delhi, Sep 20: Odisha-based journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra, arrested on Thursday by the state police for allegedly making derogatory remarks on the Sun Temple, Konark, was granted bail by a Delhi court which directed him to join the probe.

The court granted relief to Mitra on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and one surety of the like amount on a plea moved by him, while directing him to join the investigation in the state by September 28.

Earlier today, Odisha assembly adopted a privilege motion against Mitra for his alleged derogatory remarks.

Mitra, who is made accused in the case along with former BJD leader Baijayant Panda, was arrested near Hazrat Nizamuddin in the national capital and was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Manish Khurana, with Odisha police seeking his transit remand for three days to take him to his native state.

Odisha police told the court that Mitra "gave unpalatable and irresponsible remarks on Konark Sun Temple by uploading views on social media with an intention to outrage and to wound religious feeling which may create communal friction."

It further said that the "accused took his photograph along with some portion of the Konark Sun Temple and tweeted against the Odiya people".

The tweets were made on September 14.

In his bail application, moved by advocate Tarun Goomber, Mitra said his custody was not required.

A case was filed under various sections of Indian Penal Code, including 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion, grace, place of birth, residence, language etc) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).

If convicted, the accused may get a maximum of three-year jail term.

The court noted that the accused was arrested after he appeared before police at Hazrat Nizamuddin Police station on the directions of the investigating officer (IO) in the case.

"In these circumstances, I have no doubt to disbelieve that the accused will not join the investigation of the case at Odisha with the IO," the judge said

PTI.