After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

(I AM NOT A LEGAL EXPERT ON  INDIA’S LEGAL AFFAIRS BUT DOES NOT THIS TYPE OF A CASE DAMAGE INDIA’S CLAIM OF BEING A DEMOCRACY?)(oldpoet56)

After 43 days in Odisha prison, Abhijit Iyer-Mitra walks free

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him.

INDIA Updated: Dec 07, 2018 01:26 IST

Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Bhubaneswar
Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future. (ANI)

Forty three days after his arrest over allegedly insulting Odia sentiments and tradition in his tweets, Delhi-based defence analyst Abhijit Iyer-Mitra on Thursday walked out of jail free after a court in Konark granted him bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 and an assurance that he won’t make any “distasteful remarks” in future.

Iyer-Mitra, who was behind bars since October 23 over his tweets on 12th century Jagannath temple and 13th century Sun temple since September this year, was granted bail by Orissa High Court on Wednesday after the Odisha Government decided not to accord sanction of his prosecution and withdraw all cases against him. Iyer-Mitra was hospitalised on Sunday following acute pain in his stomach.

Soon after his release, Abhijit will head to Chennai to meet his mother VS Chandralekha, Tamil Nadu’s first Woman collector and a close associate of Subramanian Swamy.

The withdrawal of the cases came after he petitioned to the Odisha chief secretary seeking withdrawal of sanction to prosecute him under Section 196 of the CrPC in the 2 cases citing lack of intent or malice. “In addition to my apology to the Odisha assembly, I have unreservedly and unconditionally apologized for my words and actions that may have unintentionally hurt the sentiments of the people of Odisha, the Chief Minister and any others,” he wrote. Last month, the Assembly pardoned him after he begged apology.

In September this year, Iyer-Mitra landed in a doghouse after he flew in a chopper with former BJD MP Baijayant Jay Panda over waters of Chilika lake. He became a collateral victim of fight between the CM and his bete noire Baijayant Panda, when he went to the Sun temple at Konark in Puri district and posted a video blog on Twitter in which he said the temple was a humple(a slang for sex). An FIR was lodged at Konark police station, but Iyer-Mitra managed to secure bail from a metropolitan court in Delhi in September.

However, his ordeal began when he passed some offensive remarks against MLAs of the State leading to breach of privilege motion. He landed in further trouble when a second FIR was lodged against him by a one Manoranjan Swain of Bhubaneswar over an year-old tweet of him ridiculing Odisha and Jagannath temple. In a tweet dated November 16, 2017, he wrote “Odisha was discovered by Bengali explorers, who called it “OriShala!!! And it was named Orissa”.

Iyer-Mitra was arrested and sent to judicial custody after being booked under sections 294, 295-A, 506, 500, 153-A of IPC and 67 IT Act on Sept 20 for allegedly making offensive remarks that could cause communal disturbances. Soon after he landed in jail, he stopped eating.

Though his arrest was condemned by several intellectuals as well as Amnesty India, the government did not move till his health deteriorated on Sunday leading to his hospitalisation.

First Published: Dec 06, 2018 22:40 IST

How Tamil Nadu stayed peaceful after Jayalalithaa’s death

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS PAPER)

How Tamil Nadu stayed peaceful after Jayalalithaa’s death

INDIA Updated: Dec 08, 2016 00:49 IST

KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times

Highlight Story

A security person places flowers at the burial place of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Chennai. (PTI Photo)

J Jayalalithaa’s legions of devotees had immolated themselves in her defence in the past but when their beloved Amma died on Monday night, they were strangely calm and disciplined in mourning.Her party, the AIADMK, said late on Wednesday that 77 people died of shock across Tamil Nadu following news that their resilient Amma couldn’t pull through after a cardiac arrest. It promised to pay Rs 300,000 each to the families of the deceased. Official reports put the death toll at nine till evening.

But whatever the number, it could have been a nightmare had Amma’s supporters behaved the way they did when she was arrested in September 2014 after a Bengaluru trial court convicted her of corruption in a disproportionate assets case. About 244 people died of shock or committed suicide then, while mobs ran riot.

“Police prepared very well … did barricading for crowd control, which was effective. They factored in every aspect of the situation, drawing from past experience and placed policemen and rapid action force (RAF) units wherever needed,” said R Natraj, an AIADMK legislator and a former director general of police.

Barring frayed tempers and minor scuffles, the state and its capital, Chennai, remained peaceful.

Thousands of mourners filed into the landmark Marina beach for a final salute at the grave of the 68-year-old former chief minister and matinee idol.

They wailed and beat their chests, but remained disciplined. The reasons are not far to seek.

The AIADMK leader’s prolonged illness since September, the month she was admitted to Apollo Hospitals, and her oscillating health gave the administration and the people enough time to prepare for the inevitable.

Since news about her health came out of Apollo Hospitals and the party in fits and starts, people were prepared for the eventuality, said psychologist Chitra Arvind of Manas, an NGO.

“Yes, it is difficult for her supporters to accept it. But there was no impulse for them to commit suicide, as was the case before.”

Even die-hard supporters were reconciled to the inescapable fate — this is a natural death, an act of god.

Read| Chennai gradually returns to normal after Jayalalithaa’s death

“Word went out to the party’s rank and file to maintain strict discipline as it was the greatest homage that they could pay to Amma … not to bring discredit to the party,” said C Ponnaian, an AIADMK spokesperson.

Pickets and preemptive action checked the outbreak of violence, while meticulous preparation helped manage a sea of crowd and VVIPs who turned up during Jayalalithaa’s burial on Tuesday.

Across Tamil Nadu, about 100,000 police personnel were deployed, their leaves cancelled. In Chennai, 10,000 rookie constables and 1,000 trainee sub-inspectors were on duty, supplementing the regular security set-up.

A police officer said the closure of state-run Tasmac liquor shops for three days helped too because there were fewer drunken brawls that could have escalated into mass violence.

Read| Not Amma to all: The other side of Jayalalithaa’s legacy

Jayalalithaa, India’s Colorful, Controversial State Leader, Dies

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

Jayalalithaa, India’s Colorful, Controversial State Leader, Dies

December 5, 2016 — 2:18 PM EST December 5, 2016 — 2:18 PM EST
  • She died close to midnight after a prolonged hospital stay
  • Made a determined journey from a starlet to chief minister

Jayaram Jayalalithaa, a popular movie star who rose to become one of India’s most powerful regional leaders, has died. She was 68.

She died at 11:30 p.m. local time on Monday at Apollo Hospital in Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu where she was chief minister, the hospital said in a statement. She was hospitalized on Sept. 22 to treat fever and dehydration, and died following a cardiac arrest on Dec. 4.

Jayaram Jayalalithaa

Photographer: M. Lakshman/AP Photo

The colorful and controversial politician had faced a series of high and lows. Her supporters said she steered Tamil Nadu to development and economic growth, making the state a base for companies including Dell Inc. and Hyundai Motor Co. Her critics said she established a personality cult, involved in corruption and indulged in extravagant expenditure.

“Our beloved leader, The Iron Lady of India, Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, is no more,” her party said on its official Twitter account.

Jayalalithaa’s death could trigger public expressions of grief among her supporters, who in the past had shown devotion to their ‘Amma’ — ‘mother’ or ‘goddess’ in the local language — by painting her portrait in blood and walking on hot coals. Police blocked traffic on some roads in Chennai leading to the hospital where Jayalalithaa was hospitalized.

Starlet to CM

Like many politicians in southern India, Jayalalithaa used a past in the popular Tamil-language cinema and in particular her closeness to M.G. Ramachandran, a movie hero who founded the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, to build a political base.

Under her leadership, the AIADMK started several welfare programs to supply cheap food and medicines to the poor, all named after Jayalalithaa. She also led the party to greater influence, allying with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1998 to form a national government that collapsed after 13 months when she withdrew support.

“Her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. Her “connect with citizens, concern for welfare of the poor, the women and marginalized will always be a source of inspiration.”

The troughs and peaks continued. Jayalalithaa spent three weeks in prison on corruption charges in 2014 before a high court cleared her. After being physically attacked amid the state assembly in 1989, the Rock Hudson fan who considered green her lucky color became the first in decades to win consecutive terms in Tamil Nadu.

Her national ambitions, however, remained unfulfilled.