Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Saturday passed a motion to forgive journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra for his ‘derogatory remarks’ on Odisha legislators and Konark Sun Temple, as reported by news agency ANI. 

On November 3, Mitra had deposed before House Committee of Odisha assembly and submitted an affidavit in connection with the alleged derogatory remarks made by him against state legislators and Lord Jagannath. He was granted bail on a surety of Rs 1 lakh. Mitra, who was detained under Section 295A, had been asked to join the investigation in Odisha by September 28. Meanwhile, his lawyer had said that he had been taken to Nizamuddin Police Station.

His outburst drew flak from leaders across the political spectrum. Legislators of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Opposition Congress had demanded action against Mitra for his derogatory remarks. BJD MLA Sanjay Dasburma had reportedly said, “It is an insult to the state and its existence. Action should be taken against the man.”

The statement which was earlier registered after two FIRs were filed against Mitra read, “The malicious and objectionable comments by Mitra have outraged feelings of people of different religions (Sec 295-A IPC). The remarks have also promoted enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and are prejudicial to maintenance of harmony (Sec 153-A IPC).”

On October 23, Mitra was arrested after two FIRs – one each in Konark and Bhubaneshwar – were filed against him for an alleged sarcastic video and comments on the Konark Sun Temple that he posted on Twitter on September 16. The police had invoked Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295A and 298 (criminalising acts or words uttered intended to outrage or wound the religious feelings of any individual or class), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against him.