Santosh Thammaiah, the editor of the right-leaning magazine Aseema, who was arrested by police officials in Kodagu for making an inflammatory speech against Prophet Mohammed and Tipu Sultan, was granted bail on Tuesday evening.
The Ponnampet Court in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu district granted conditional bail to Santosh Tammaiah. Justice Mohan Gowda, who was hearing Santosh's bail petition adjourned the proceeding twice and asked Santosh about his alleged statement. Later, however, Santosh was given bail under the condition that he cannot leave Kodagu.
Santosh was arrested at midnight on Tuesday for making a speech against Prophet Mohammed at an event organised by a Hindutva group Pragnya Kaveri titled 'Tipu Karaala Mukha Anaavarana' (Exposure of Tipu's dark side) on November 5. The event was held in the run-up to Tipu Jayanti celebrations in the state.
The arrest was made based on a complaint by Askar KV, a resident of Siddapura. In the complaint, Askar KV claimed that Thammaiah said, “It was because of the Prophet’s ideologies that Tipu Sultan carried out terrorist acts.” Muslim organisations had also protested outside the Gonikoppa Police station against the statements.
The arrest was criticised by the BJP in the state and its leaders called for the FIR to be quashed and the arrest to be revoked.
"Santosh has been arrested for speaking against the celebration of Tipu Jayanti by the state government. He exercised his freedom of speech and spoke against Tipu as per his democratic rights," said S Shantharam, Media Convenor of the BJP. The party also described it as "a hammer blow to the freedom of the press".
However, police officials at Gonikoppa police station told TNM that the group organising the event did not obtain police permission to hold the event and also clarified that they waited till Tipu Jayanti celebrations were over before arresting him.