Abhijit Iyer’s lawyer seeks security from Odisha Police

Bhubaneswar: A day after Supreme Court refused to grant extension of bail to journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra, his counsel today sought security from Odisha Police to appear before the House Committee constituted by the Odisha Assembly.

A six-member Asembly House Committee had summoned Iyer to appear before it on October 11 here for alleged breach of privilege and derogatory remarks made by him against Odisha and the Sun Temple in Konark.
Puri superintendent of police, Sarthak Sarangi said that Abhijit Iyer’s lawyer has sought security from the police in an email.

“His counsel has informed that Iyer will appear before the House Committee on October 11 and sought protection. We have forwarded the mail to Bhubaneswar deputy commissioner of police,” Sarangi said.

Iyer Mitra was arrested and subsequently granted bail by a Delhi Court on September 20. He had been booked under different sections of the IPC including 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on the ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.)

Two cases have been registered against Iyer – one at Konark Police Station in Puri district and another at Saheed Nagar police station in Khurda district.

As Mitra’s legal protection is ending on October 5, he had moved the Supreme Court seeking extension of his bail tenure.

The apex court had dismissed his bail extension yesterday.

Iyer was criticised for a tweet posted on November 16, 2017 in which he wrote: “Odisha was discovered by Bengali explorers, who called it “OriShala!!! And it was named Orissa”.

He also wrote that Jagannath Temple was built by the Gangas, who were disgraced Pallava Tamil retainers. “…no such thing as Orissa, just the wild southern provinces of undivided Bengal,” Iyer had tweeted.

Such remarks triggered widespread resentment in Odisha. Later, Odisha speaker had constituted a House Committee led by leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra to probe the matter. The House Committee formed by the Odisha Assembly has also issued notice to Abhijit Iyer asking him to appear before the panel members on October 11.

(With inputs from PTI)

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