Abhijit Iyer Mitra says sorry again ahead of House panel appearance

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New Delhi: Abhijit lyer Mitra, who is facing a house committee probe for allegedly making offensive remarks against the Sun Temple in Konark, has tendered an unconditional apology and confirmed that he would appear before the assembly house committee, which is probing the case.

Speaking to new agency ANI Abhijit lyer Mitra said, “I have always held Odisha in high regard. One of the reasons I came to Odisha was to look at this history. Odisha was one of the most pivotal movements in Indian history. If we look at the Ashokan period, Odisha’s contribution to Indian culture is so immense, that was one of the reasons I went there. My Twitter account is more of a fun account and I don’t use it as a professional account. I am an academician and if anyone reads my research writing, a lot of it is praising Odisha and will continue to do so.”

When asked about his other controversial remarks, Mitra said, “I had said some nastier things about other members of assembly on which I wish to clarify that I was under immense stress and would apologise for it unconditionally. I will be cooperating with any investigation at any time. Unfortunately, my older tweets have been dug up and I certainly I don’t stand by those tweets.”

Making his stance clear over the controversial helicopter ride and his alleged proximity to Odisha politician Jay Panda, Mitra said, “Regarding the helicopter ride that I took in Odisha, it is important to state that I don’t really know Jay Panda. I had only met him twice and this was a last minute invitation. I could have never thought it can land me into that much of trouble. If I have hurt any sentiment through my video I apologise for it but the intent was never to hurt anyone.”

“Last 10 days have matured me quite a bit. I used to be very carefree and careless almost in what I used to say. However, I have realised that when one is at a public platform it is probably best to be more reflective and mature about what one says,” he added.

Mitra also informed that he will appear before the house panel of Odisha Assembly on October 23. He asserted that he has already written a letter to Odisha assembly to apologise about his remarks about the assembly.

Notably, the controversy started when Mitra posted a video on his Twitter handle on September 16 criticising the Konark Sun Temple.

In the video, Mitra said, “I am in Odisha’s famous Konark Temple. I just want to say this is not a temple, this is a humple. Look at the sculptures, men, women, animals, they’re all doing it. Can this be a holy place? Not at all! This is a conspiracy against the Hindu community by Muslims who want to keep us down. I hope there aren’t such vulgar sculptures in the new Ram Temple,”

Following the incident, the Odisha Assembly moved a privilege motion against the journalist seeking stringent action against him for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Odisha people. Speaker Pradip Amat approved the proposal and had formed a House Committee to probe the matter.

Mitra was also arrested in New Delhi by and was later granted bail on a surety of 1 Lakh.

The house panel headed by Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra had issued notice to Abhijit to appear personally before the panel on October 11 for breach of privilege as he also allegedly hurled abuses at Odisha legislators.

However, Mitra failed to appear following which another notice was sent to him for appearance before the committee on October 23.

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