New Delhi: Commentator and journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra who was detained in New Delhi over his alleged derogatory remarks about Odisha and the Sun Temple, has been granted bail on a surety of Rs 1 lakh. Iyer-Mitra, who was detained under Section 295A, has been asked to join the investigation in Odisha by September 28. Meanwhile, his lawyer told ANI that he had been taken to Nizamuddin Police Station. “He has been told that a case has been registered against him in Odisha. He hasn’t been told what the case is or who has registered it. He hasn’t been given a copy of the FIR so we can’t say what the offences are, who the complainant is or under what sections case has been registered,” the lawyer said.
Earlier in the day, a privilege motion had been moved against him in the Odisha Assembly demanding action against him for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. The Speaker had approved the proposal to form a House committee led by Leader of the Opposition to investigate the matter. Iyer is very active on Twitter and his profile claims he is ‘so right wing that he makes Genghis Khan look like an HR activist’.
The brouhaha is over a video uploaded on social media on Saturday, 15 September, where Iyer-Mitra can be seen criticising the 13th-century temple in what is a satirical video. “I am in the famous Konark Temple premises. This is not a temple but a humple where people are humping. See these sculptures… Women with women, men with animals. 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,” he can be heard saying.
His outburst drew flak from leaders across the political spectrum. Legislators of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Opposition Congress had demanded action against Iyer-Mitra for his “derogatory” remarks. BJD MLA Sanjay Dasburma had reportedly said, “It (Mitra’s video) is an insult to the state and its existence. Action should be taken against the man.”