Bhubaneswar: A day after the state government pardoned journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy Wednesday lauded Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the state Assembly for their generosity.
In a Twitter post, the BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP said, “The withdrawal of cases against Abhijit and that too after the CJI had rebuked his advocate that Abhijit is safe in jail, is due to large heart of CM Patnaik and the Odisha Assembly sagacity. Abhijit should learn that four-letter foul word is not culture.”
The state government Tuesday had announced its decision to grant pardon to Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, who is lodged in jail for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the state, its people and culture.
The decision was made following Mitra’s prayer to Patnaik to consider withholding sanction to prosecute him in certain criminal cases pending against him.
“He (Mitra) has appealed to the chief minister to accept his apology and contrition in having wounded the sentiments of people of Odisha without intention,” a Home department official had said.
Mitra had further mentioned in his representation that in consideration of his unconditional apology for having hurt the sentiments of the people of Odisha “unintentionally without malice and mal-intent”, the Odisha Assembly pardoned him November 17.
“Taking into account his representation, the government decided not to accord sanction of prosecution in cases where prosecution has been sought and also decided to take steps to withdraw other cases pending against him by following laid-down procedures,” the official said.
The Delhi-based journalist and researcher was arrested October 23 after he posted a video on his Twitter handle, allegedly criticising Odisha, Lord Jagannath, Konark temple and the lawmakers of Odisha.
Two cases were registered against Mitra at Sahid Nagar police station in Bhubaneswar and Konark police station in Puri.
Mitra, who has been lodged at the high-security Jharpada Special Jail in the state Capital, was admitted to a hospital in Bhubaneswar after he complained of illness December 2.