Abhijit Iyer Mitra sent to 4-day police remand for making derogatory remarks on Konark Sun Temple

Bhubaneswar: A Bhubaneswar court Wednesday allowed police to take Delhi-based journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra on a four-day remand. The in-charge Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM), Bhubaneswar, Manoranjan Pradhan allowed police to take Mitra on remand for investigation into an FIR lodged against him in Puri district.

The FIR was lodged against Mitra at the Konark Police Station, accusing him of making derogatory remarks on the Sun Temple of Konark, Odisha, Lord Jagannath and the legislators of the Odisha Assembly.

Mitra was arrested here Tuesday, soon after he appeared before a House Committee of the state Assembly over his alleged anti-Odisha remarks and tendered an unconditional apology. He was lodged in the Special Jail at Jharpada here after the court rejected his bail plea and sent him to 14-day judicial custody Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Saheed Nagar police, in a mail to Twitter, have sought the details regarding e-mail account on which Mitra had opened his Twitter account, the mobile through which he was handling the social media and the date and the time of his posts.

Police also requested Twitter to furnish the details of the tweets Mitra had posted about Odisha, Lord Jagannath, the Sun temple and the legislators of the state Assembly. During his visit to Odisha last month, Mitra had posted a video on his Twitter handle where he “criticised Odisha, its people, Lord Jagannath, Konark temple and also Odisha lawmakers.”

Two FIRs were registered against him at the Konark police station in Puri district and the Saheed Nagar police station in Khurda district under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Mitra had appeared before a House Committee of the Odisha Assembly Tuesday and recorded his statement. The panel has asked Mitra to appear in person again on November 2 and submit an affidavit.

Chairman of the House committee Narasingha Mishra, who is also the Leader of Opposition in the Odisha Assembly, had told reporters Tuesday that “Abhijit Iyer-Mitra confessed to the allegations against him and sought an unconditional apology for his stupidity. He has been directed to depose before the committee and submit an affidavit in this regard”.

“The committee will decide whether to accept his apology or not after examining his affidavit. Accordingly, the committee will then recommend the House to take action against him if necessary,” he said.

Earlier on September 20, Odisha Assembly Speaker P K Amat had set up a House Committee to probe the alleged derogatory remarks against the state, its culture and the lawmakers made by Mitra.

Though the committee had earlier summoned Mitra to appear before it on October 11, he failed to turn up. A notice was then sent to him for appearance before the committee on October 23.

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