The Supreme Court on Thursday refused bail to defence analyst Abhijit Iyer Mitra, who was arrested on September 20 for his comments on Twitter about the Konark Temple in Odisha, ANI reported.
When Mitra’s counsel said his life was in danger, the court said prison would be the safest place for him. A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi dismissed his bail petition, saying his remarks about the temple had incited religious feelings.
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 mindblowing,” he wrote. “The sculptures are exquisite & it has a great sense of symmetry & gravitas.”
His comments caused an uproar in the Odisha Assembly. He was later granted bail on a surety of Rs 1 lakh. A committee formed by the Odisha Assembly has asked him to appear before it on October 11.
Nikhil Mehra, Iyer’s lawyer, said he respected the court’s decision. “I will not file a review petition in the case,” ANI quoted Mehra as saying. “Now it is up to the police to take a decision to arrest my client or not. My client will join the investigation.”