Derogatory remarks row: Abhijit Iyer Mitra granted conditional bail

Bhubaneswar/Delhi: Journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra who was arrested by police in Delhi earlier today on charges of making derogatory remarks on Odisha, has been granted bail.

Delhi Saket Court granted conditional bail to Iyer till September 28 on a surety of Rs 1 lakh and has directed him to depose before Konark Police Station after completion of the period for further investigation.

Meanwhile, the Court has also rejected Odisha police’s plea to take Iyer on transit remand as it failed to produce necessary documents.

Iyer was arrested in Delhi today on charges of making derogatory remarks against Odisha. As per reports, Iyer was taken to hospital for a medical examination and produced before Saket court .

He was reportedly detained at the Hazrat Nizamuddin police station and questioned in connection with the incident.

Earlier, Abhijit’s journalist friend Aarti Tikoo Singh, had tweeted about the arrest.

Earlier in the day, Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Amat today approved the proposal for a House Committee to investigate the matter.

While Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra will be the chairman of the House Committee, Debi Mishra, KV Singh Deo, Pramila Mallick, Arun Sahoo and Sanjay Das Burma are the other members of the Committee.

This apart, leaders cutting across party lines slammed journalist Abhijit Iyer in the Odisha Assembly today for his alleged derogatory remarks on Odisha.

On the last day of the monsoon session of the Assembly, members participated in a privilege motion and demanded stringent action against Iyer.

As soon as the Assembly started, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra raked up the issue in the House and moved a privilege motion against the journalist.

Speaker Pradip Amat accepted the privilege motion and allowed fora discussion on the issue in the House.

“Remarks of Abhijit Iyer have disrespected and hurt the sentiments of the people of Odisha and Odia language. He should be summoned to the State and the House should decide on the quantum of punishment,” said Mishra.

BJP’s Pradip Purohit and Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati also demanded that the House should decide on the action that should be initiated against the journalist.

“We demand stringent punishment against him and will not leave House till an announcement on this is made,” said Bahinipati.

Meanwhile, Purohit criticised the Chief Minister for his absence during the privilege motion discussion.

Members of the treasury bench including Arun Sahoo and Pratap Jena also participated in the debate and demanded exemplary action against Abhijit Iyer.

Later Amat convened an all-party meeting after adjourning the proceedings of the House for 20 minutes.
Working journalists also submitted a memorandum to Odisha CM, Assembly Speaker and Leader of Opposition demanding stringent action against Abhijit Iyer for his derogatory remarks against them.

Earlier, Mitra was criticised for a tweet which he had tweeted on November 16, 2017, and in which the scribe 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,” Mitra had tweeted.

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