Konark Row: Ahead of Odisha assembly appearance Abhijeet Mitra says sorry

New Delhi [India], Oct 17 (ANI): Abhijeet Iyer Mitra, who is facing a house committee probe for allegedly making offensive remarks against the Sun Temple in Konark, has tendered an unconditional apology and confirmed that he would appear before the assembly house committee, which is probing the case. The matter pertains to Mitra posting a video critical of the 13th Century Konark Templeon his Twitter handle, on September 16. "I am in Odisha's famous Konark Temple. I just want to say this is not a temple, this is a humple. Look at the sculptures, men, women, animals, they're all doing it. Can this be a holy place? Not at all! This is a conspiracy against the Hindu community by Muslims who want to keep us down. I hope there aren't such vulgar sculptures in the new Ram Temple," Mitra had said in the video, which was later withdrawn. Following the incident, the Odisha Assembly">Odisha Assembly moved a privilege motion against the journalist seeking stringent action against him for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Odisha people. Speaker Pradip Amat approved the proposal and had formed a House Committee to probe the matter. Mitra was also arrested in New Delhi and was later granted bail on a surety of 1 Lakh. Reaffirming respect for Odisha's rich cultural heritage, Mitra also stated that he is ready to cooperate in any investigation. Speaking to ANI, Abhijeet Iyer Mitra said, "I have always held Odisha in high regard. One of the reasons I came to Odisha was to look at this history. Odisha was one of the most pivotal movements in Indian history. If we look at the Ashokan period, Odisha's contribution to Indian culture is so immense, that was one of the reasons I went there. My Twitter account is more of a fun account and I don't use it as a professional account. I am an academician and if anyone reads my research writing, a lot of it is praising Odisha and will continue to do so." On his other controversial remarks, Mitra commented, "I had said some nastier things about other members of assembly on which I wish to clarify that I was under immense stress, and would apologise for it unconditionally. I will be cooperating with any investigation at any time. Unfortunately, my older tweets have been dug up and I certainly I don't stand by those tweets." Making his stance clear over the controversial helicopter ride and his alleged proximity to Odisha politician Jay Panda, Mitra said, "Regarding the helicopter ride that I took in Odisha, it is important to state that I don't really know Jay Panda. I had only met him twice and this was a last minute invitation. I could have never thought it can land me into that much of trouble. If I have hurt any sentiment through my video I apologise for it but the intent was never to hurt anyone." "Last 10 days have matured me quite a bit. I used to be very carefree and careless almost in what I used to say. However I have realised that when one is at a public platform it is probably best to be more reflective and mature about what one says", he added. Mitra also informed that he will reach Odisha on October 22 and would appear before the assembly house committee the next day. He asserted that he has already written a letter to Odisha assembly to apologise about his remarks about the assembly.
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