ONI Bureau: Hundreds of Journalists, Academicians, Intellectuals and others from various areas of excellence, have launched an online petition, requesting Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik to release Defence Strategist and Writer Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, who was arrested by Odisha Police for his “derogatory” remarks on Odisha, Konark Temple and Odia culture.
They include Kanchan Gupta (Journalist), Aarti Tikoo Singh (Journalist), Tarek Fatah (Writer & Activist), Mohan Guruswamy (Journalist), Dilip Simeon (Historian), Prof. Happymon Jacob (Academic), Chitra Subramaniam (Journalist), Dr. Vikram Sampath (Historian), Aditya Raj Kaul (Journalist), Abhijit Majumder (Journalist), Ramachandra Guha (Historian), Abhinav Prakash (Academic), Anand Ranganathan (Scientist), Manu Joseph (Journalist & Novelist), Nayantara Sahgal (Writer), Rajdeep Sardesai (Journalist), Siddharth Vardarajan (Journalist), Rupa Subramanya (Economist), Sreemoy Talukdar (Columnist) and Dr. Vivek Deheja (Academic).
Over 1,300 people have signed the online petition so far and its’ counting. Many people have joined the online campaign, seeking mercy for Abhijit with the argument that he had already apologised for whatever he said although it was a mere satire. Even, many in Odisha believe that the issue is going too far and it’s high time we put an end to this controversy, move on and focus on issues of public interest as well as development.
Titled as ‘Freedom of Speech’, the appeal says:
“This censorship and gagging of people in India has been a common phenomenon. Law has always been abused/misused by political parties and politicians to silence their opponents and pander to their respective conservative constituencies and vote banks. Hence, there is almost no movement by any political or civil society group against the draconian archaic laws such as IPC 295A and 153A.”
“If you are a conscientious member of civil society or a believer in the ideas of democracy, liberty and the right to freedom of speech and expression, please come forward to sign this petition demanding Abhijit Iyer’s release and an end to the politically motivated witch-hunt against him.”