In what seems to be curtains for the ordeal of Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, the Odisha Government has announced its decision to deny sanction to prosecute him in the criminal cases registered against him.
He has been in jail since last September in cases registered for the offence of hurting religious sentiments and promoting communal hatred on the allegations that some of his tweets were derogatory to Konark temple and Lord Jagannath.
Last week, he had tendered an apology to the people of Odisha. He had appealed to accept his apology and contrition in having wounded the sentiments of people of Odisha. The Odisha Legislative Assembly had pardoned him on November 16. In a press release issued today, the Odisha Government stated its decision to not to accord sanction of prosecution in cases where prosecution has been sought for and to withdraw other cases pending against him, in acceptance of the unconditional apology tendered by him.
Sanction of Government is required to prosecute offences of hurting religious sentiments(Section 295A IPC) and promotion of communal hatred(Section 153A IPC) as per Section 196 of Code of Criminal Procedure. Section 321 enables the state to withdraw from prosecution in any case, with the consent of the Court.
Last week he was hospitalised after he complained of illness.
Iyer-Mitra, a defence analyst and journalist based in Delhi, was first arrested on September 20 in relation to tweets made about Konark temple. A court in Delhi had granted him conditional bail directing him to join the investigation. Though he approached SC for protection from arrest, the plea was not entertained. The SC observed that his tweets were prima facie derogatory. Later, he was arrested again on October 24 in relation to another tweet about Lord Jagannath. Meanwhile, the Assembly also adopted a motion against him alleging breach of privileges.