- The journalist had poked fun at Odisha, its legislators and Konark temple
- He was arrested on October 23, weeks after an investigation was ordered
- A panel said the state assembly should take his apology into account
The Odisha state assembly today passed a motion to "forgive" journalist Abhijit Iyer Mitra for the allegedly derogatory remarks he had made against its legislators and the Konark Sun Temple over a month ago.
Mr Mitra is accused of tweeting a video, where he is shown criticising everybody from the residents of Odisha to Lord Jagannath, the Konark Sun Temple and state assembly legislators, in September. The Delhi-based journalist was arrested by the state police on October 23, weeks after assembly speaker Pradip Kumar Amat constituted a probe into the matter.
The decision to pardon Mr Mitra was taken after a house committee of the state assembly submitted its report on the alleged breach of privilege yesterday.
Mr Mitra, who is lodged in a special jail here, had recently deposed before a house committee headed by Opposition leader Narasingh Mishra for the third time. "The committee observes that Shri Abhijit Iyer Mitra made a statement against the members of this august house, for which he has begged an unconditional and unreserved apology before the committee," the panel report said, recommending that the state assembly be "magnanimous" enough to drop the matter.
The report also asked the state government to provide Mr Mitra with enough material to educate him on the art, culture, history and lifestyle of the Odiya people.
Earlier, there was some confusion on the reason for Mr Mitra's arrest, with a section of the media saying it was over a year-old Twitter post on the origin of an Indian sweet. This, however, was denied by the Odisha police.
"This is absolutely false and mischievous. Mr Mitra's frivolous comment on the rasogolla is not at all a ground for legal action against him," the department had said in a statement then.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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