Defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, who was arrested in October for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the people of the state by posting satirical tweets, was released from judicial custody on Thursday, a day after the Orissa High Court granted him bail, the Hindustan Times reported.
Earlier in the day, the court of the judicial magistrate in Konark and the sub-divisional judicial magistrate in Bhubaneswar also granted Iyer-Mitra conditional bail. Asked for a reaction, the Delhi-based defence analyst, who was undergoing treatment for stomach pain at a hospital in Bhubaneswar, said: “Thank you”, Odisha Sun Times reported.
After being released, he headed to the Biju Patnaik International Airport and left for Chennai to meet his mother VS Chandralekha, Tamil Nadu’s first woman collector.
The High Court granted the defence analyst bail a day after the state government accepted his plea to drop charges against him and decided not to grant sanction to the police to prosecute him.
Iyer-Mitra was first arrested in September for alleged derogatory comments about the Sun Temple in Konark. A Delhi court granted him bail after he furnished a surety of Rs 1 lakh. The court also ordered him to join the police investigation but he did not, claiming a threat to his life. Iyer-Mitra then moved the Supreme Court for protection from arrest. On October 4, the top court refused to grant him bail, claiming jail was the “safest place” for him.
Iyer-Mitra was again arrested on October 24 in connection with a criminal case filed for his tweets in 2017 in which he had joked that the Jagannath idol at a temple in Puri was actually from Kolkata and had been stolen “by evil Kalinga demon kings”.
The Odisha Assembly on November 17 passed a motion to pardon Iyer-Mitra and dropped charges of breach of privilege against him for his comments on the Sun Temple.