Abhijit Iyer seeks apology for derogatory remarks

Bhubaneswar: Already in the eye of a storm for his derogatory remarks on Odisha, Sun Temple and MLAs, Delhi-based journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra today failed to turn up before the House Committee constituted by Odisha Assembly to probe breach of privilege motion moved against him. In an email sent to Odisha Assembly speaker, Iyer sought an apology for his remarks which sparked a public outcry in the State.

Leader of Opposition and Chairman of the House Committee, Narasingha Mishra said Abhijit Iyer has sent an email in which he has mentioned to have committed ‘unpardonable mistake’ and accepted his fault.

“But, as the House committee issued notice to Abhijit Iyer to appear before it, he is bound to obey it. Considering the cyclone Titli and cancellation of trains and flights, the House Committee was of opinion that he might have been unable to depose due to such reasons and did not intend to dishonour the panel,” said Mishra.

Mishra further informed that a notice will be soon served to Iyer to appear in person on October 23 and the DGP has been directed in this regard.

The House Committee constituted by Odisha Assembly had earlier summoned Iyer to depose before it in connection with the breach of privilege motion moved against him.

It is pertinent to mention here that Iyer was arrested by the Odisha Police with the help of Delhi Police on September 20 on the charges of hurting religious sentiments of the people. However, a Delhi court had later granted him bail against a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh and directed him to cooperate in the probe by Konark Police.

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.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court (SC) had rejected the bail plea of Iyer in connection with a case filed against him for making the objectionable remarks.

Declining to provide relief from arrest, the apex court had ruled that bail cannot be granted to Iyer as said as the scribe has hurt religious sentiments of people.