Chennai, August 10(BPNS)
The Catholic priest from Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu who, in a public meeting had showered abuses against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home minister Amit Shah and insulted ‘Bharat Mata’ was granted bail by the Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Tuesday.
The priest Father George Ponniah who had allegedly showered incriminating remarks against the Prime minister and Home minister on July 18 at a public meeting at Arumanai in Kanyakumari district on July 18 was arrested on July 24 and was in Judicial custody ever since.
The Catholic priest had denied the allegations and said that he was only criticising the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister and that he had not insulted ‘Bharat Mata’. In his prayer before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, the priest said that he had immediately uploaded a video expressing regret over his speech. He said that he was not insulting ‘Bharat Mata’ and that was only responding to the statement of an MLA that he was not wearing slippers for showing respect to ‘Bharat Mata’.
The single bench of the Madras High court represented by Justice B. Pulagendhi on Tuesday granted bail to the priest citing his frail health and advanced age. The counsel of the priest had prayed before the bench that Ponnaiah would not reside in Kanyakumari district and that he would live outside of the district.
Justice Pulagendhi said that the priest should live in Trichy district and report regularly to Thillai Nagar police station after the bail and violation of conditions would again put him under judicial custody.
It may be recalled that the statement of Father George Ponniah had led to communal tensions in Kanyakumari district and the Kuzhithurai archdiocese of the Catholic church had criticized the statement of the priest and distanced themselves from him.